Child homelessness at historic high

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COLUMBIA - The National Center on Family Homelessness released a report Monday that shows an increase in child homelessness.

The report, assembled by the American Institutes for Research, states 2.5 million children experience homelessness every year in the US, or one in every thirty children. These new statistics represent an eight percent national increase.

The Salvation Army in Columbia provides shelter to both children and adults with no place to stay. The shelter is the only local establishment that allows families to stay together.

Major Richard Trimmell with the Salvation Army said he has seen a rise in children at the shelter and thinks the economy could be to blame.
"What can they do about it? They're kind of at the mercy of the elements and the mercy of what's going on within the family dynamic. So they're kind of the innocent victims, and so as much trauma as we can remove out of that situation the better," Trimmell said.

The report states Missouri has 53,045 homeless children and ranks thirty eighth nationally.

There are 649 emergency shelters in Missouri and 698 transitional housing centers.

Although the total number of homeless children in Missouri is high, a representative from the National Center on Family Homelessness said Missouri is above average in state policy and planning.

The agency is presenting the full report to Congress in February.