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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Newly released numbers show how devastating the problem of homelessness is in our area -- numbers that include many children.
Friday is National Homeless Person's Memorial Day -- and communities across the nation, including Louisville, are recognizing the plight of the homeless on this first day of winter.
"The reality is that the face of homelessness is the face of a child, and in Louisville this is true," said Lisa Thompson with New Directions Housing Corporation.
Numbers from the Metropolitan Housing Coalition show that from 2011-2012, more than 12,000 JCPS students were homeless. That is a 21% increase from the previous year.
"Every night is a question mark. Where will I sleep, will I be safe, they know their parents are scared," explained Thompson.
She often works with families who are struggling with homelessness. Many families are on the brink of losing everything, something Wayside Christian Mission has seen firsthand. "We saw people in the shelter this year who were a few years ago volunteering with us, never dreamed they would be homeless, but due to the economy they did lose their homes," Nina Moseley with Wayside explained.
A few weeks ago, a young man showed us his home -- a viaduct beneath I-65 in Jeffersonville, Indiana. Mosely says this can be dangerous. "The winter is the worst time of the year, many of them face the inevitable of freezing if they don't get into a shelter. A day like today would be pretty much fatal to many of them."
With winter moving in, many homeless will need to move into shelters, which are prepared to take in more people as temperatures drop. "Today is definitely a white flag night," said Moseley of the frigid temperatures. "Shelters make extra room, we're able to make some mats on some certain areas, we do all that we can."
If you want to give this holiday season, but do not know how, Moseley and Thompson know exactly how donations would be spent.
"The cost of the shelters with extra people is extremely high you know that's more electricity, more water, more laundry detergent, more toilet paper," said Moseley.
"I can promise you that donation will immediately go to help someone put food on a table, help them get ready for the next challenge in their life," said Thompson.