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Since COVID-19 Hit, More Homeless Children Have Been Identified in Youngstown. Here’s Why - Mahoning Matters

Since the coronavirus pandemic began, the number of homeless children living at city shelters has increased significantly. Youngstown City Schools officials have also identified three times as many students in need of assistance this year, compared to 2019. John Muckridge, Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley president and CEO, said shelter workers expected to take in more women when the shelter moved to its new, 50,000 square-foot facility along Martin Luther King Boulevard in Youngstown, which offers more bed capacity.

But they didn’t expect the number of children who came with them. In 2019, Youngstown City School buses were only picking up a handful of students living at the rescue mission. But in the last few months, that number has tripled, Muckridge said.

On March 8, there were 44 children staying overnight at the rescue mission. That means that for the first time in the mission’s history, there were more children than adults in the Women and Families department on any given day since it opened in 1982, according to a news release from the rescue mission. There are 86 total beds in the family department. The mission counts the number of children by the amount of beds occupied each night, rather than by a head count. The monthly average of child overnight stays increased from 225 stays in 2020 to 680 stays in just the first few months of 2022, according to rescue mission data. Though there are fewer individual children who spent at least one night at the shelter — 90 in 2020, down to 68 this year, the mission reported — the large increase in overnight stays suggests they’re staying for longer.

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