Groups that serve the homeless in Iowa are banding together to ask for more help. Jim McWeeny, the resources coordinator for the Iowa Homeless Youth Centers, says statewide there’s 35,000 homeless people, many of them families with children. He says while 65-percent of the homeless are below the age of 18, many are veterans, and all of them need food and shelter. Trish Harlow works with McWeeney and she says they focus on the homeless who’re between the ages of 16 to 25 because that’s where you have the best chance of changing their lives. Harlow says young people aren’t the first thing you think of when it comes to homeless people. She says in public you often see people living on riverbanks in camps, in abandoned cars and buildings, but she says it’s a relatively small percentage of the homeless. She says young people tend to bounce along from one place to another. Harlow says it’s not hard for people and their kids to become homeless. “You lose a job, you have a major health issue, it’s amazing how easy it is to slip into losing your home or your appartment as a result of things that happen to you if you don’t have a big savings.” She says there are also a lot of parents who just say to their kids, “I’m done” and family settings that are not very healthy. McWeeney says they’re putting out the call to Iowans to help. “We urge the community to prioritize the problems of the poor, hungry and homeless in our community. And to work year-round for proactive solutions.” McWeeney says you can help in many ways. They’re urging people to call the local United Way, or to dial 211 to find the names of the organizations that’re serving the poor, the hungry and the homeless. McWeeney says the government money for help has stayed level while the need increases, putting further strain on their organizations.
You are here: / / About 65 percent of homeless are under age of 18