Summer Camp Gives Homeless Kids a Taste of Outdoor Living

Upstate NY camp serves as refuge for growing number of homeless families

The Homeward Bound summer camp in Bear Mountain, NY seeks to give homeless children a refuge from homeless life and a taste of outdoor living that doesn't involve seeking shelter on the streets.

A growing portion of the homeless population includes families with children, according to the Associated Press. Camp Homeward Bound is a summertime retreat for young people who have found themselves forced from their homes by virtue of parental job loss or mortgage foreclosure. The nearly 100 attendees at Camp Homeward Bound were from New York City, where a lack of affordable housing and a faltering economy have led to an increase in homelessness.

Approximately 40% of the homeless population now include families with children in the U.S., signaling a troubling trend in the nature of homelessness. Many of the children at Camp Homeward Bound only attended school sporadically due to the rootless nature of their domestic situations.

Advocacy group First Focus estimated that two million people would be forced into homeless in the current economic environment. A high percentage of the children will wind up the victims of physical or sexual abuse, or witness their mothers be subjected to the same.

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