BEAUFORT, SC (WTOC) - The number of homeless children in Beaufort County has increased by more than 200 in the last year.
Right now, just one homeless shelter in the area is working to help these children, but there is only so much they can do as the number continues to rise.
A lack of affordable housing and competition with job opportunities are things that people deal with nationwide, but there are also a huge number of homeless children because of this.
Executive director for Family Promise, Lynda Halpern, says every situation is different as far as a family's case management needs, but it's very disheartening when to see the number of children who don't have stability in their lives.
While these children may overstay their welcome by sleeping on relatives couches, some have single parents who just cannot afford to take care of them and their siblings.
"They don't know the difference. They are so happy to get attention. They get a lot of love from the staff," Halpern said. "That's really the toughest part I think for any of us is these children coming in and knowing that they've been jumping from school to school. That's tough and we don't want them to be a part of that same vicious cycle that their parents are experiencing."
The number of homeless children last year was at 550 and has risen to 730 this year. That's a shocking 61 percent increase in children who don't have a home in Beaufort.
"550 sadly was a huge increase over the prior year so the statistics keep getting worse. It's just this vicious cycle," Halpern said.
While the Family Promise homeless shelter is also the only shelter in Beaufort, and shelters in surrounding counties are full, the population growth causes more and more homeless children locally and nationwide.
Halpern says it is a wonderful thing to know that children are not worrying about where to go next and they know they have a safe place with the Family Promise Homeless Shelter.