WCA featured in Lohud Article: “‘Couch surfing’ children are Westchester’s invisible homeless, lacking services, advocates say”

On December 15, 2021, Westchester Children’s Association was featured in a front-page article in Lohud written by Gary Stern and entitled “‘Couch surfing’ children are Westchester’s invisible homeless, lacking services, advocates say.”  The article highlighted that “(a)t least 2,357 students in the county experienced homelessness during the 2019-20 school year — about 1.5% of all public school students.”

Allison Lake, WCA Executive Director, was featured in a video interview along with Dr. Lilian Reynolds, District McKenney-Vento Liaison for the Mount Vernon School District where she highlighted the plight of children in doubled-up situations and the importance of a universal, inclusive definition of ‘homelessness ‘that shapes their access to preventative and supportive services.

WCA was featured in the opening paragraphs of Stern’s article as follows:

Homeless children are rarely seen on the streets of Westchester County.

And yet, growing numbers of kids have no stable home and are “couch surfing” in overcrowded and sometimes dangerous situations, according to a nonprofit tracking the numbers of homeless students. Many are the children of the working poor in a county with little affordable housing.

“Children may have a roof over their heads but still be unsafe, maybe in an aunt’s basement or doubled or tripled up in an apartment,” said Allison Lake, executive director of the Westchester Children’s Association. “How do you succeed in school when you don’t know where you may be sleeping next?”

The WCA, a century-old nonprofit, has made it a mission to expose Westchester’s “invisible” homeless youth, who may not qualify for government services because they haven’t stayed in homeless shelters and are not part of the system.

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