Living in a homeless or domestic violence shelter is not an easy experience for a child, or for anyone. Your life is thrown into disarray. Things you used to take for granted become unknowns. Since the recession began, our nation has seen an uptick in formerly middle-income familieswho have lost jobs and ended up in shelters. The shelters TRC works with are helping families get back on their feet.
TRC also works with families living in affordable housing apartment complexes. Affordable housing provides housing at a subsidized rate and accepts Housing Choice Vouchers so lower-income families can afford apartments for their families. Housing authorities must give 75 percent of all vouchers to families who earn no more than 30 percent of the area median income and the remainder to those who earn less than 50 percent of that figure. In Arlington County, as of 2012, 30 percent of the area median income for a family of four is $32,250.
Life is not easy for kids whose families are in these economic straits. There is sometimes not enough money to pay bills; having enough money to buy special things -- like books -- or have fun experiences can be a distant dream. In 2012, PBS Frontline profiled several impoverished children from different regions of the country and in situations ranging from rural to big city. The children featured in the video talk candidly about their experiences being hungry and their dread of moving back to a homeless shelter.
Frontline's complete feature can be found here. To watch a shorter feature about Sera, an 11-year-old whose family loses its home, see below.
For more information about Housing Choice Vouchers visit the Housing and Urban Development Fact Sheet and the Arlington County website.
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