Do We Care About Homeless Children?
Early this morning I went out for a six-mile run with my running club. We started just north of the Santa Monica Pier and ran south along the boardwalk. There are always homeless people at various places along the way, but once we crossed into Venice, today I noticed a definite uptick from the usual number.
There were the people huddled up with wads of newspaper, people in sleeping bags, families under makeshift tents--and there were children.
One little boy stood next to his sleeping bag, looking at us run by. A block down, I spied a little girl still curled up in hers, next to a man I assume was her father.
And I began to cry as I ran.
Last year I interviewed a staff person from School on Wheels, an L.A.-based nonprofit that provides educational services to homeless children. She told me that although we stereotype homeless people as older, males with drinking or mental health problems, that's not the majority of the homeless population. The average age for a homeless person in the United States is nine years old.
My heart broke this morning to see these children sleeping on the sidewalk, steps from pricey beachfront property, in a country that, despite recent hardships, is still one of the most prosperous in human history.
I can't stop thinking about what I saw, and how easily we tune it out. Sure, my son is comfortable on the sofa on a Saturday night, but how can I sleep easy when other people's children aren't so fortunate?