Letter to the editor - Homeless children in our communities

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People in the community are startled. And people in the community want to help. A recent publication of the Central Kentucky News Journal released information provided by the local school districts: there are a reported 85 homeless students in Taylor County. Interestingly enough, based solely on data from Green River Ministries Homeless Shelter, between September 2016 and 
September 2017, 76 minors were included on applications for shelter. Thus, the numbers reported to the area schools and those recorded by an area agency match up!
When reading these figures, it’s important to not overlook the words “reported” and “recorded.” There are 85 students REPORTED homeless in Taylor County and 76 children have been RECORDED as homeless through Green River Ministries Homeless Shelter. However, a general rule of thumb in the homeless shelter community is to double number of clients “recorded” and 
this will give you a rough estimate of the actual number homeless in a specific area. The difference in the “true estimate” and “clients recorded” is due to the stigma of homelessness. Many that are homeless don’t seek help because they are embarrassed, afraid of being labeled, feel that there is no help to be had, or all the above.
If this rule is applied, there are possibly 152-170 children who are homeless within Taylor County today. If you are a community member that is startled and you want to take action in combating the homelessness issue in our community, specifically as it pertains to children, please contact Green River Ministries Homeless Shelter. We prioritize families with children and guarantee that during their stay under our roof that they will be bathed, fed, and safe through private bedrooms/baths, a stocked kitchenette, and a fully secured and monitored facility.
Miranda Willis, MSW
Executive Director
Green River Ministries Homeless Shelter.