Written by Perry Hazeltine, Lancaster City. This piece was first published here, the LancasterSpeaksUp.com blog, on June 28, 2021 with permission from the author. It has been submitted to LancasterOnline/LNP for consideration as a Letter to the Editor.
There’s a child tonight being tucked into bed. She is falling asleep surrounded by her books and toys. One day this summer, there will be a knock on her door—the sheriff’s deputy evicting her family. They will leave with only what they can carry. There is no room for extra things in a car, shelter, or on a family member’s couch.
Most of the child’s toys, books, and clothes will be piled in the street. They won’t have money for storage fees, so the neighbors will pick what they want, and the rest will end up in the landfill.
This story will happen throughout the country this summer. The CDC Eviction Moratorium ends soon, but 10 million Americans are still behind on rent.
Of course, child homelessness is nothing new. More than 1.3 million children were homeless at some point during the 2018-2019 school year. But the pandemic fueled spike in families behind in rent should give us pause. County Commissioner Josh Parsons might think “this money is arriving after the COVID crisis is over” but the crisis is not over for children who face eviction.
Lancaster County has received over $100 million from the American Rescue Plan. This money can be used to provide rental relief and affordable housing for families in Lancaster County. We can choose for no child to be cast out of their home, or we can turn a blind eye to the crisis before us. What will we choose?
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