The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Homelessness Is Destroying Children’s Lives

Feb 6, 2017

Daejanae Marshall’s baby daughter Zah’Nyah was 3½ months old when she died in her sleep on November 27, 2012. The medical examiner ruled the death Sudden Unexplained Infant Death, and said that “co-sleeping” contributed to this tragedy.

Daejanae Marshall was aware of the dangers of having a baby sleep in a regular bed with her. But the homeless shelter the young mother and her baby were staying at did not have cribs, and it did not allow residents to bring their own furniture either. So the mother and daughter were sleeping in the same bed.

Baby Zah’Nyah is one of the eight homeless infants who are known to have died from sleeping in “unsuitable conditions” in L.A. County since 2010. The victims’ families did not have the means to provide better sleeping conditions.

Homelessness caused these deaths, which could easily be prevented. And the number of homeless children has been growing rapidly.

Homelessness would have devastating effects on any person, but its effects on children are especially horrifying. Children who experience homelessness are more likely to have chronic health problems, which they often carry into adulthood. They are also more likely to fall behind in school–their high-school graduating rates are, in fact, below 20 per cent.

It’s simply criminal for a society to allow so many of its children to languish. And it’s totally unnecessary and avoidable–considering the amount of wealth that exists in this country.

Homelessness is a result of unemployment, low wages and high housing costs–all of which, in turn, are caused by the capitalists’ drive to increase profit. That’s why the problem of homelessness can’t be solved within the normal workings of capitalism.