CHARLOTTE, N.C. –The number of homeless kids living in Charlotte has risen dramatically in just one year.

A Child’s Place, a non-profit group, now estimate there are 4,453 homeless children enrolled in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.  That is up from about 3,200 last year.

The group’s executive director, Annabelle Suddreth, says that number does not even take into account kids under 5-years –old.

“We estimate there are probably 1,600 more kids, which means over 6,000 kids who are homeless in our community,” Suddreth said.

A Child’s Place has put together some 300 bags of food for homeless families this Thanksgiving.

A young mother of three kids, who we will not identify, stopped by to pick up one of those bags. She says the holidays are always tough.

“It makes you think about better times, when things were more stable.”

Being homeless and being a child takes a toll says Suddreth.

“They are four times more likely to be sick.  They are twice as likely to be hungry.  They are falling two to three grade levels behind in school,” she explains.

Suddreth says coping with the growing number of homeless children should be everyone’s issue.

“Homeless children in our community is not just the government’s challenge and it is not just the school system’s challenge.  It’s a community challenge,” Suddreth explains.

The group can’t help everyone, but that young mother of three is grateful for the help her family is getting.

“Having A Child’s Place helps me, gives me hope that things will be back to normal,” she says.

 

RAD BERKY / NewsChannel 36

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