The annual Point-In-Time count of homeless people has shown a decreased number of people living on the street over the past few years. That comes as a surprise to those who live or work near areas where homeless people gather and to formal and informal shelter managers.
State surveys show that 11 percent of 8th and 10th graders liver somewhere other than their parents’ home. It’s 16 percent for LGBTQ+ youth. My Friend’s Place Youth Homeless Shelter reported more than more than 300 drop-ins in 2018. 88 drop-ins accounted for 316 overnight stays. My Friend’s Place operates at 100 percent capacity nearly year-around.
Well over half (58%) of the area’s 59,700 students are enrolled in free or reduced lunch in the bi-county region. For many of those kids, that’s the only real meal they will receive that day. It is hard to fathom but 9 percent of the residents of Benton and Franklin Counties live in a “food desert,” defined as being more than a mile from a source of fresh fruits and vegetables and with limited transportation.
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