A new study of homelessness in Mississippi is showing that 26-thousand kids are living without a stable home. The study by the National Center on Family Homelessness is broadening the definition of homeless.
This study is attempting to count not only kids living on the street or in shelters, but also those moving frequently from home to home, living doubled up with other families or otherwise without a stable home.
Center director Carmela DeCandia says only focusing on children living in shelters misses the bigger picture of homelessness in Mississippi.
"Most families who are homeless are not on the street. There is a very small population of what we call 'unsheltered' homeless," DeCandia said.
More than half the homeless children in the state are under age of six.
The study ranked Mississippi 49th for its rate and risks of child homelessness.
DeCandia says many homeless children are very young.
"More than half being under age six. The impact of that level of instability, moving around, not really having a stable home can really have quite long term effects on their development," DeCandia said.
But DeCandia says the state is taking positive steps.
"But the fact that Mississippi has established this interagency council on homelessness is a big step forward in being able to address some of those risk factors and some of the well-being issues. As well as start to bring down some of the numbers that we see in Mississippi," DeCandia said.
Nationwide, the study found 2-and-a-half million homeless kids, which is a record high.