News Article

Their View: Bill would make it easier to help homeless kids

Housing & Homelessness

Las Cruces Sun-News

Every child should look forward to summertime, but for the nearly 1 million homeless children in America, summer’s not a vacation. For them, school offers safety, food, and community support. When school ends, they can’t get these basic necessities at home, because they don’t have a home of their own. Worse yet, it’s government red tape that prevents local leaders from helping these kids. But Representative Steve Pearce can help.

It’s no secret that Las Cruces families face real challenges in a tough economy. The signs are all around, as job losses and foreclosures have made it harder for many local families to meet kids’ basic needs. You might not always see the consequences, because more than 700,000 homeless kids aren’t always visible on the streets. They live a transient life — hotel rooms when their parents can afford it, on a friend’s couch for a night or two, then on to another place. They may have a roof over their heads tonight, but it’s not their roof, and they never know if they’ll lose it tomorrow. In every way that matters, these kids are homeless.

The U.S. Department of Education recognizes that kids forced from their homes need a little extra help. But, because they’re not on the street every day, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) maintains that these children are not technically “homeless.” The Alliance for Excellent Education estimates that HUD’s definition ignores 81 percent of New Mexico’s homeless children.