Letter: Shocking count of homeless kids

Students work together in a makeshift classroom at Students work together in a makeshift classroom at a homeless shelter in Commack on Feb. 12, 2014. Photo Credit: Daniel Brennan

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I was saddened to read the official numbers of homeless children on Long Island ["Numbers surge on LI," News, March 17]. In Nassau County, there were roughly 3,200 homeless students in the 2012-13 school year, up from 663 in 2007-08. In Suffolk County, the numbers were far worse: nearly 5,000 homeless students in 2012-13, compared with 1,956 in 2007-08.

The causes of the increase are the economic recession; the mortgage crisis, with a record number of home foreclosures; families displaced by superstorm Sandy; and the inadequate supply of affordable housing on Long Island.

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Childhood can be full of growing pains and challenges for average children in stable homes. Imagine the same challenges with no place to live. Imagine the stigma for children whose classmates find out they're homeless. Imagine doing homework without a home to do it in.

What do you think the likelihood is for these children to go to college? How likely is it that they will even graduate high school? How many will turn to drugs and crime because they have so few options?

Let these numbers be a call to action to every one of us. Will you and I stand idly by while these children fall through the social safety net?

David Golbert, Great Neck

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