By: Maegan Jones

In the US alone, over 500,000 people are homeless. According to a report by the US Census Bureau, each year, about 5,000 people in Buffalo, NY, become or re-experience homelessness. Several programs are active and help those struggling. However, shelters run low on clothes, food and feminine hygiene products. Currently, Buffalo is one of the poorest cities in the nation with three out of every ten inhabitants living in poverty. In 2011, The National Center for Children in Poverty named Buffalo, NY, the third poorest major city in the US with a poverty level over 30 percent. The only cities that ranked higher were Cleveland, Ohio and Detroit, Michigan.

Recently, the Census Bureau reported that over 75,000 residents in Buffalo, NY, lived in poverty last year. The homeless population impacts all communities and ethnic groups. Over 25 percent of people who are homeless lack a high school diploma or GED. In addition, over 20 percent of homeless individuals are under the age of 18.

The Buffalo-Niagara region holds one of the most racially and economically segregated cities in the nation. Those who do not live in affluent areas usually get the short end of the stick when it comes to state benefits and programs. Mayor Byron Brown addressed concerns about the homeless population in a July 2016 interview with WIVB, Channel 4. “Well, so we’ve spent millions on community centers for children in every section of the community where children can go. On the east side of Buffalo, we’ve spent 18 million dollars renovating the improving community centers, we’ve made a substantial investment in parks and playgrounds,” said Mayor Brown.

Officials in Buffalo aim to change homelessness and poverty rates by investing into the children of today. Education and supportive foundations can help decrease homelessness. Nevertheless, there are still people at this moment who are in dire need of shelter. Donations can be made to local facilities. Family Promise of WNY, City Mission, Compass House, Niagara Gospel Rescue Mission and other places provide for those without homes. In addition to new clothes, the shelters are in need of personal hygiene products, food, school supplies and other items. If you are interested in helping, please reach out to those in your community.

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