Recently Homeless Don't Fit Classic Sterotype

A Child's Place has made the Jurados one of the more fortunate families. Across the country, homeless shelters are overflowing, tent cities are cropping up on the West Coast, and people are living in cars.

When given an assignment to draw a picture of his home, one child in Charlotte asked a volunteer whether he could draw the parking lot where his mother parked the family van every night.

Homeless Numbers Increasing

The effects of homelessness on children can be devastating. They may be twice as likely to get sick, fall behind two or three grade levels, and face mental and emotional problems.

"The numbers are increasing because of the economic challenge," said Suddreth. "The needs are growing. Where we once used to focus on what the child needs to be successful in school, now we're looking at basic needs like food."

Many of the nation's new homeless are also cropping up in pay-by-week motels.

Adrienne Carothers makes about $12 an hour as a teacher's assistant. You would never suspect she is homeless, but she has been living in a cramped motel room since March.

A single mother with three grown children, Carothers has always struggled to support the family. The final straw was when she recently sunk a month's pay into fixing up a rental that, she said, she was later unfairly evicted from.

With nothing left for another security deposit, she moved into a motel. Carothers said the wait list for public housing is too long.

To make matters worse, she recently was told she might not have a job next school year.

Carothers has gotten a part-time job for the summer at the YMCA that pays $8 an hour, not nearly enough to pay for the motel.

When asked what she'd do next, she could only say, "I'm not sure. Do I worry about it? Yeah, I worry about it every day. ... I break down and have to cry sometimes, because I don't see a way out."

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