On November 2nd, National Homelessness Awareness Month began. At an awareness event in the State Capitol, various speakers addressed the prevalence of homelessness in Wisconsin and the need for government, agencies and individuals to come together to find better solutions. Along with community and statewide school leaders working to end homelessness, St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Program Director Priscilla Lentini worked to put on this event.
At the event, a Ribbon Tree visually represented the estimated number of people who experience homelessness in a year. Each ribbon accounted for 1,000 individuals. Here is data on youth and young adults facing homelessness in a year:
- 16,462 4K-12 students
- 16,537 young children ages 0-6
- 55,000 young adults ages 18-25
- 1,987 unaccompanied 4K-12 students (living without a caregiver/guardian)
- 26,661 runaway youth ages 12-17
The kickoff event for National Homelessness Awareness Month is at the Wisconsin State Capitol rotunda on November 2, 2022 at 11:30AM. Speakers will range from state representatives addressing the concerns of homelessness in Wisconsin to individuals speaking about their lived experience of homelessness. Through their voices and stories we can learn about ways we can make a difference in our community. This event is an opportunity to build much needed awareness of the homeless crisis in our state and local communities and we hope we can come together to find better solutions.
The November 2 kickoff event at the State Capitol will also feature a Ribbon Tree designed to showcase and measure the different types of homelessness experienced in Wisconsin.
“Young people often have innovative survival strategies that make many assume that youth homelessness does not exist. This includes sleeping with friends, strangers, engaging in survival sex, or couch-surfing across state lines. Unfortunately, our systems don’t always identify these survival strategies as homelessness,” said Rachel Litchman, member of the Youth Action Board of Dane County, who will be one of the speakers at the Nov. 2 event.
“Housing is a human right, and no person in our state deserves to struggle with the stress of finding affordable housing or experiencing homelessness. We know that safe and secure housing is essential for strong families and strong communities, yet too often are inaccessible,” said Wisconsin State Senator Melissa Agard, who will also be speaking at the event.
According to another scheduled speaker, Michael Basford, Director of the Wisconsin Interagency Council on Homelessness, “Homelessness and housing insecurity happens all over Wisconsin – regardless of area of the state and whether it’s urban, suburban, or rural areas. This is an issue that has always required an all-hands-on-deck response if we’re going to end homelessness as we know it in this state.”