Ark-La-Tex sees increase in homelessness

Thursday, December 15, 2011 - 9:21am

This holiday season, more than 1.6 million American children are homeless, according to data from the National Center on Family Homelessness. That's a trend we've seen here in the Ark-La-Tex too, says Simone Hennessee of the Providence House. "I can tell you we've served more people this year than any year in my 20 year history and that means we've served over 11 hundred people, with the majority of those being children."

The Providence House is a non-profit group that teaches families how to live independently. Margaret's been at the Providence House for a few months and says she's grateful to have somewhere to go. She said without the extra support, "I wouldn't be doing the things I'm doing. I've gotten my GED, I can go to school and get a better job to take care of my kids."

Margaret's story is one the Providence House hears a lot. A single mom, she left an abusive relationship with her two daughters and found herself without a place to stay. Hennessee says close to 90% of those who enroll in the program are able to graduate and find housing successfully. The only problem in a time like this...finding a place for everyone.

"We've actually had to turn away over 11 hundred families that wanted to come in and work the program," she said. "That's an 180% increase over previous years."

Louisiana ranked seventh worst in the nation for homeless children. The state's been among the 10 worst since the survey began over a decade ago.

The Providence House is collecting supplies for area families for Christmas. If you can help out, please visit their website.

You can also call Sarah Causey at 550-GIFT for more information.

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