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2008 세계아동현황보고 - 노숙생활에서 안정을 찾는 가정 (미국)

2008.01.22

* State of the World’s Children 2008 – Moving out of homelessness in the USA
* 02 min 53 secs
* United States
* 14 Sep 2007

With a record number of home loans across the United States going into foreclosure, more and more families are finding themselves locked out of their own homes. The woman we'll call Cynthia Johnson was unable to make her monthly mortgage payments after she lost her job to corporate downsizing. The bank took possession of her home, and Cynthia and her four children suddenly found themselves homeless.

SOUNDBITE (English), Cynthia Johnson (not her real name): "My first house was my dream home. And I had this house for about four years and my hopes and dreams -- and what I tell my children – that I'll gain employment again, to be able to purchase this house again, because no one has lived in it since we've moved out. It's still for sale."

After losing her home, Cynthia learned about Nicholas House, a non-profit agency in the city of Atlanta that works to help homeless families make the transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency. For a maximum period of two years, families like Cynthia's are given a safe place to live, counselling, case management, assistance with life skills, and other support services geared toward each family. Last year, Nicholas House provided housing and services to 72 families, including 183 children.

SOUNDBITE (English), Dennis Bowman, Executive Director, Nicholas House: "Once children are in a stable situation, they go to the neighbourhood schools. We have an incredible after-school program that assists academically, as well as socially and behaviourally. We have a nine-week summer youth camp that is all day long for all of the children who are with Nicholas House, so that while the parents are working, they don't have to worry about where their kids are.

And what we've found is that the children really excel. In fact, at this one location here, we saw in one grading period over fifty percent of the kids being on the honour roll."

One of the reasons for the success of Nicholas House is a community-integrated approach to helping children and their families.

SOUNDBITE (English), Shona Dismuke, director of client services, Nicholas House: "Community partnership is key. We provide housing, the schools provide education, the mental health agencies provide individual counselling. "

Cynthia is hoping to land permanent employment soon, and work toward getting her home back. Until then, Nicholas House is making sure she has a healthy family environment and the skills needed to make her dream a reality.

This is Thomas Nybo reporting for Unicef Television in Atlanta, Georgia. Unite for Children.



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