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Report: Number of homeless kids under four in Michigan higher than state data show

young kids playing with toys on floor
Jennifer Guerra
Michigan Radio

The number of homeless kids under the age of four in Michigan could be much higher than reported by homeless service agencies.

That's according toa reportfrom researchers at the Michigan League for Public Policy and Poverty Solutions at the University of Michigan.

The organization estimates there are nearly 16,000 kids under four in the state with no place to call home. It says that's more than two and a half times what homeless agencies report.

“However we know that this is a significant undercount because children are most likely to experience homelessness between the ages of zero and four,” said Kids Count intern Sarah Ostyn.

She says this experience affects children far beyond early childhood.

“Really that is such a significant time of brain development that we do see things connected only to experiences in early childhood when we look later down the road,” Ostyn said.

Ostyn says there isn't much data on the state's homeless kids before they enter kindergarten.

She says better methods of data collection could help kids and families get the resources they need earlier on.

Paulette is a digital media reporter and producer for Michigan Public. She started as a newsroom intern at the station in 2014 and has taken on various roles in that time, including filling in as an on-air host.
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