Photography project shows the true faces of homeless youth

Photo by Craig Blankenhorn

Craig Blankenhorn is an award-winning photographer, whose work is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of the City of New York.  His recent project titled “Child Homeless” is a collection of photos that document some of the 1.6 million homeless children in the U.S.

Blankenhorn spent time with homeless families in New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Florida, and his powerful photos show the reality of the desperate conditions many of our youth face by being without a stable home during the most important developmental time of their lives.

“I want to speak for the victimized children of our country who aren’t even fully cognizant of their own poverty,” Blankenhorn told The New York Times.  “Infants, young children and teenagers are living on the streets, in hotel rooms and in their parents’ cars, forsaken by bad luck. It is my hope that these photographs will show this problem to those who are unaware or have done their best to ignore this issue.”

It’s important to remember homelessness and poverty can be the most destructive towards children. At Nebraska Appleseed, our Child Welfare Program is working on homelessness issues among youth who age out of the foster care system.  According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, nearly 25% of former foster youth reported being homeless for at least one night within four years of exiting foster care.

Providing youth with a support system as they exit foster care makes them statistically less likely to abuse drugs, suffer physical and sexual assault, and end up in the criminal justice system.  Keeping youth off the streets is just the beginning of ensuring they can lead healthy, educated, and productive lives as adults.

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