New York Times article sheds light into life of homeless child


This story originally appeared in the New York Times.

By: Andrea Elliot

She wakes to the sound of breathing. The smaller children lie tangled beside her, their chests rising and falling under winter coats and wool blankets. A few feet away, their mother and father sleep near the mop bucket they use as a toilet. Two other children share a mattress by the rotting wall where the mice live, opposite the baby, whose crib is warmed by a hair dryer perched on a milk crate.

Slipping out from her covers, the oldest girl sits at the window. On mornings like this, she can see all the way across Brooklyn to the Empire State Building, the first New York skyscraper to reach 100 floors. Her gaze always stops at that iconic temple of stone, its tip pointed celestially, its facade lit with promise.

Nas Raises $29,000 for Homeless Family

Who says emcees aren’t activists?

While many of us are keeping an eye out for the conclusion of the Jay Z-Belafonte beef, Nas used his profile to bring a little goodwill to a family down on their luck.

After seeing a story about a family who had lost their home to a fire, Nas took to Twitter to help them.

Over $29,000 was raised in less than a day!

Youth Homelessness is On The Rise in Illinois

According to a report in the Chicago Tribune, youth homelessness is on the rise.

Though an official count has not been made since 2005, shelters and hotline data suggests that more and more youth are on the streets. Shelters are overflowing with young people looking for beds, and hotlines are often overwhelmed with calls.

A variety of factors have contributed to the rising numbers; particularly economic factors like unemployment and corresponding familial stress.

23 Year-Old Joshua Williams Graduates from College Despite Homelessness; Starts Scholarship Fund

It’s graduation season. In the coming weeks we’ll read about impressive young people who have already made their mark on the world.

Well, Joshua Williams is one of those students.

Williams, a senior at Bethune-Cookman College, will graduate this weekend with a degree in criminal justice.

Even more astonishing? Joshua spent most of his college career without a place to live:

Homeless Woman Sent to Prison for Sending Child to Better School Out of Her District

Tonya McDowell, the 34-year-old black woman who enrolled her son at a school in Norwalk, Connecticut, instead of Bridgeport, where she last lived permanently before becoming homeless, has been sentenced to 5 years in prison.

McDowell admitted to “fraudulently enrolling” her son in kindergarten in Norwalk, by using a babysitters address. McDowell had lived out of a van and occasionally stayed at a homeless shelter in Norwalk.

Nonetheless, the state charged her with stealing a “free” education:

REPORT: Homeless Black Youth Are Largely Invisible to Service Providers

According to a new report, language and definitions surrounding homelessness render homeless black youth invisible to service providers.

The report, conducted with homeless white and black youth in California, found that homeless black youth are less likely to consider themselves homeless. Those surveyed often use terms like “couch surfing” instead, and often stay with a different friend or family member each night.

White youth are more likely to identify as homeless, and more likely to access services that cater to homeless populations (like food banks and shelters).

Co-authored by Colette Auerswald and Ginny Puddlefoot, the report suggests that language and definitions surrounding homelessness must be re-framed to include “unstable housing,” in order to effectively reach and support the needs of struggling black youth.