THE HOMELESS CHILDREN EPIDEMIC

March 13, 2018 at 7:00 pm

Why is child homelessness on the rise in New York City? As part of “Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America,” the multi-platform public media initiative exploring poverty, income equality, and opportunity, Irwin Redlener, MD, author of “What the Dreams of Children Mean for Twenty-First-Century America,” joins us to discuss the factors contributing to this problem.

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Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America is a multi-platform public media initiative that provides a deeper understanding of the impact of poverty on American society. Major funding for this initiative is provided by The JPB Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Ford Foundation.

Aired on March 13, 2018. 

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>> STUDENTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY
ARE EXPECTED TO PARTICIPATE IN
WALKOUTS TOMORROW AS PART OF A
NATIONWIDE MOVEMENT CALLING FOR
OUR LEADERS TO ADDRESS THE ISSUE
OF GUN VIOLENCE.
IT COMES ONE MONTH AFTER THE
SCHOOL SHOOTING IN PARKLAND,
FLORIDA THAT LEFT 17 DEAD AND
REIGNITED A DEBATE ON GUN
REFORM.
SAFETY OF OUR STUDENTS AND THEIR
CLASSROOMS ARE ONE OF A NUMBER
OF ISSUES FACING OUR STUDENTS.
THE NUMBER OF HOMELESS STUDENTS
IN NEW YORK'S PUBLIC SCHOOL
SYSTEM ROSE BY 6%.
THAT MEANS THAT AT SOME POINT,
ONE IN EVERY 10 PUBLIC SCHOOL
STUDENTS HERE IN NEW YORK WERE
CAUGHT UP IN THE CITY'S SHELTER
SYSTEM.
THERE'S NO DENYING THAT THIS IS
NOW A PROFOUND CRISIS IMPACTING,
NOT ONLY OUR REGION, BUT MUCH OF
THE COUNTRY, WITH RENT COSTS
SOARING AND AFFORDABLE HOUSING
DIMINISHING PRACTICALLY
EVERYWHERE.
ONE OF THE NATION'S LEADING
CHILD ADVOCATES ARGUES THAT THIS
EPIDEMIC WILL ONLY GET WORSE AS
A RESULT OF THE DPRALFEDERAL BU
CUTS.
WE'LL TALK TO THE DOCTOR.
THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.
WE'LL GET TO THE MYRIAD ISSUES
THAT ARE AFFECTING OUR CHILDREN,
PARTICULARLY OUR POOREST
CHILDREN.
BUT SINCE YOU'RE HERE, I WOULD
LIKE TO ASK YOU A COUPLE OF
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE CHILDREN IN
FLORIDA.
WHAT ARE THE LONG-TERM
PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECTS FOR THOSE
STUDENT SURVIVORS OF PARKLAND
AND FOR THE STUDENTS ACROSS THE
NATION WHO VICARIOUS EXPERIENCE
THAT SHOOTING AND SO MANY OTHER
SHOOTINGS.
>> EVERY TIME ONE OF THESE
INCIDENTS HAPPENS THERE'S A HUGE
DRAMA THAT THESE HORROR STORIES
HAVE BECOME, AND I'M THINKING OF
2012, WHEN MANY YOUNG STUDENTS
WERE KILLED.
THIS ONE'S DIFFERENT FOR A
NUMBER OF REASONS.
IT'S THE LATEST OBVIOUSLY IN
WHAT'S BECOME AN EPIDEMIC IN
SCHOOL AND OTHER MASS SHOOTINGS
IN THE UNITED STATES.
BUT THE THING ABOUT THIS, THIS
SHOOTING TOOK PLACE IN THE HIGH
SCHOOL AND THE SURVIVORS OF THIS
TRAGEDY ARE PARTICULARLY
ARTICULATE AND PARTICULARLY
ENGAGED NOW AND ARE REIGNITING
THE WHOLE ISSUE OF GUN CONTROLS
AND GUN SAFETY IN A VERY
DIFFERENT WAY, THAT'S NUMBER
ONE.
NUMBER TWO IS THAT, BECAUSE OF
THE ATTENTION THAT THIS SHOOTING
ACTUALLY HAS GOTTEN, THERE'S
BEEN AN IMPACT NATIONALLY IN
VIRTUALLY EVERY SCHOOL IN THE
COUNTRY, EVERY PARENT IS WORRIED
NOW IS THEIR CHILD GOING TO BE
SAFE AT SCHOOL.
THERE'S A LEVEL OF ANXIETY THAT
I THINK IS NOW GROWING AND I
THINK IS GOING TO FUEL THIS NEW
MOVEMENT THAT'S BEEN IGNITED BY
THESE SURVIVING STUDENTS AND I
THINK THERE'S NO TURNING BACK
NOW.
THEY MAY ACTUALLY MAKE THE BIG
DIFFERENCE IN ACTUALLY MAKING
PROGRESS.
>> WHY DO YOU THINK IN THIS CASE
THESE STUDENTS RESPONDED IN THIS
WAY WHEN IN PREVIOUS SHOOTINGS,
THEY HAD NOT?
>> WELL, LET'S SAY IN THE
SHOOTING IN CONNECTICUT IN 2012,
THEY WERE VERY YOUNG KIDS.
THESE ARE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS,
PARTICULARLY BRIGHT HIGH SCHOOL
STUDENTS WHO FEEL LIKE WE HAVE
JUST HAD ENOUGH OF THIS AND WE
CAN'T TAKE ANYMORE.
AND I THINK ALSO THAT AFTER
YEARS AND YEARS OF WATCHING OUR
GENERATION, THE ADULTS FAIL TO
BRING SOME SENSIBLE CONTROL TO
THIS ISSUE, THEY'RE TAKING IT
INTO THEIR OWN HANDS AND THERE'S
NO GOING BACK NOW.
>> AND THE MOVEMENT CREATION IS
GOING TO HAVE A POSITIVE PS
PSYCHOLOGICAL EFFECT ON THOSE
WHO EXPERIENCED PARKLAND
DIRECTLY AND THOSE ACROSS THE
COUNTRY?
>> EVERY TIME YOU TAKE CONTROL
OVER A CRISIS, WHERE YOU FEEL
LIKE THERE'S SOMETHING YOU CAN
DO, IT'S EXTREMELY ENERGIZING,
NOT ONLY THAT, THEY'RE GOING TO
END UP BEING A VERY POTENT
POLITICAL FORCE TOO.
AND POLITICIANS ARE GOING TO
HAVE A LOT TO ANSWER TO,
PARTICULARLY IN THE MIDTERM
ELECTIONS, AND IN PARTICULAR
WHAT'S A REASONABLE GUN STRATEGY
IN AMERICA.
>> LET'S TURN TO YOUR BOOK, AND
IN THAT BOOK, YOU MAKE CLEAR
THAT ONE OF THE BIGGEST
TRAGEDIES WE'RE FACING IN THIS
COUNTRY, IS THE NUMBER OF
CHILDREN WHO CANNOT FULFILL
THEIR DREAMS TODAY.
>> YEAH.
>> TALK ABOUT THAT, WHAT IS
PREVENTING THEM FROM FULFILLING
THEIR DREAMS?
SO MANY CHILDREN, PARTICULARLY
THE POOREST KIDS.
>> ONE OF THE FIRST STORIES I
TELL IN THE BOOK, IS A
10-YEAR-OLD IN THE '90s, WHO WAS
A COMPLETELY IMPOVERISHED KID
LIVING IN A FOSTER SHELTER.
AND I ASKED HIM WHAT HE WANTED
TO BE WHEN HE GROWS UP AND HE
LOOKS AT ME AND SAYS I WOULD
LIKE TO BE A PA PAL LESS THA--
PALENTOLOGIST.
I THOUGHT THIS CHILD BECOMING A
PALENTOLOGIST, IS PRACTICALLY
NIL.
THEIR KIDS, MY FAMILY, YOUR
FAMILY, A CHILD SAYS THAT, WELL,
STAY IN SCHOOL, STUDY, YOU'LL
MAKE IT.
WILLIAM HAD NO CHANCE,
BASICALLY, HE WAS GOING TO
SCHOOL ONLY INTERMITTENTLY,
THERE WAS NOBODY TO SUPPORT HIM
AND IT JUST WASN'T GOING TO
HAPPEN.
THERE ARE MANY CHILDREN WHO LIVE
WITH THE BARRIERS OF PROFOUND
POVERTY, ACCESS TO ONLY POOR
SCHOOLS AND A CUT OFF TO THEIR
POTENTIAL AND THEIR DREAMS SO
THEY WON'T BE ABLE TO FULL TILL
THTILL
THEIR POTENTIAL WHEN THEY GET
OLDER.
WE'RE ABOUT TO ENTER AN ERA
WHERE THE COMPETITION, FROM
CHINA, FROM INDIA,
INTERNATIONALLY, IS GOING TO BE
SEVERE IN TERMS OF ECONOMIC
PROWESS AND SO LON.
WE NEVER EVERY CHILD IN AMERICA
TO HAVE A CLEAR PATHWAY TO
BECOME SUCCESSFUL IN THEIR
LIVES.
THE MORE CHILDREN WHO ARE ABLE
TO FULFILL THEIR POTENTIAL, THE
STRONGER AMERICA WILL BE.
THAT MAKES IT A TRANSCEND DENT
ISSUE, THAT MAKES POLITICAL AND
IDEOLOGICAL DIFFERENCES.
TO ENSURE THAT NO CHILD IS LEF
BEHIND AND EVERY CHILD HAS A
PATHWAY TO SUCCESS.
>> ONE OF THE SUBJECTS I
MENTIONED IN THE INTRODUCTION,
IS YOUTH HOMELESSNESS.
HERE IN THE CITY, IT'S BEEN ON
THE RISE FOR YEARS AND THE
FEDERAL FIGURES SHOW, AN
INCREASE OF O4% IN THE PAST YEA.
>> AS FAR AS HOMELESSNESS IS
CONCERNED, WE NOW HAVE A SERIOUS
MISMATCH, BETWEEN THE HOMELESS
IN THE CITY AND THE RESOURCES
THAT HAVE, AND SOME LOWER MIDDLE
CLASS PEOPLE AND SOME MIDDLE
CLASS PEOPLE.
SO FOR THE RISING COST OF
LIVING, BASICALLY OWNING
SOMETHING OR RENTING SOMETHING
TO LIVE IN, MANY PEOPLE LIVING
ON MINIMUM WAGE OR CLOSE TO IT,
PEOPLE SIMPLY CANNOT AFFORD THE
HOUSING.
AND THIS HAS BECOME A PROBLEM,
MORE AND MORE PEOPLE ARE PUSHED
INTO HOMELESSNESS AND MORE AND
MORE FAMILIES HAVE TO BE LIVING
IN SHELTERS AND THAT PRESENTS
ALL KINDS OF PROBLEMS IN TERMS
OF ACCESS TO HEALTH CARE IN
SHELTERS AND SO ON.
>> IT'S ALWAYS GREAT TO TALK TO
YOU.
>> LIKEWISE, THANKS, RAFAEL.