Homelessness can have a significant impact on anyone, including children. If a child is experiencing homelessness, it can have a major effect on their development, health, and behavior. At The Midnight Mission, we aim to help everyone experiencing homelessness in the Los Angeles community. We provide comprehensive, holistic services to those who are looking for support. Here are 5 things to know about how homelessness can affect early childhood development, and how we at The Midnight Mission can help.

Emphasis 5 Ways Homelessness Can Affect Children

  • Sleep- How well we sleep is one of the most important components of a healthy lifestyle. If someone doesn’t have a comfortable, dry place to sleep, it can affect their mental and physical health. Sleep deprivation can impair cognitive control and functioning. For children, this can mean having a hard time focusing in class and delaying their progress in school. If living in temporary accommodations, children usually share a room with multiple family members, which can make it hard for children to stay asleep at night. If a child is experiencing homelessness, their lack of sleep can affect the quality of their daily life.
  • Depression/Anxiety- Children who are experiencing homelessness live with a large amount of uncertainty and disruption during this period of their lives. This can cause them to develop anxiety and depression, which is uncomfortable to live with daily. Having to deal with inconsistent living quarters can make children stressed out and insecure. For many who go to school, children can face extreme anxiety when the school day ends, and they don’t know where to go. Living with homelessness, depression, and anxiety can limit a child’s quality of life.
  • Social Isolation- Children experiencing homelessness can feel isolated from their peers. Children and adolescents can feel self-conscious and embarrassed about what they’re going through.  For example, a lack of access to necessities, such as a bathroom, can mean a child’s appearance and hygiene can dwindle. This can decrease their self-esteem, which can distract them from school, work, and social activities. Many don’t know where to confide in their problems, which in turn can increase their level of anxiety and depression.
  • Loss of Personal Objects- Children who are going through homelessness can have a lack of personal objects or items. These types of belongings, or comfort items, can be lost after moving from place to place. Objects can be a source of comfort, relationship building, or mementos. With a lack of personal belongings, children can feel possessive of what they own or fear to commit to certain objects that they do have. This can be stressful for many children, especially if they feel insecure from their peers. 
  • Sense of Belonging- Children facing homelessness struggle with not having a sense of belonging, figuratively and literally. Without having a safe place to call home, children can live in fear and adjust daily to whatever situation they are in. Because of having no stability, children can be distracted from enjoying their childhood.

Emphasis Midnight Mission Can Help

If you or someone you know is experiencing homelessness in the LA area, please contact The Midnight Mission today! Our leaders and staff are here to help everyone who is looking for resources. We provide comprehensive services that aim to help those looking to restore their lives for the better. Contact us through email or phone today! Our mission is to provide quality, compassionate care to everyone! Support us today by getting involved and/or donating to help your community!