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Experts say many parents are too embarrassed to admit they are homeless, or are afraid to ask for help out of fear their children will be taken away and placed in foster care. According to Maureen Sorbet, a spokeswoman for the state Department of Human Services, homelessness that is solely attributable to poverty is not considered child neglect.
"Most of these children are living moment to moment -- the whole family is -- and it's very tough for them," Taylor said. "For a student in school, when you say, 'I'm going home,' you have no home. It gets some kids off track, because they just can't handle the ordeal of homelessness."
US mayors' report: Hunger and homelessness intensify in US cities
The number of people hungry and homeless in US cities rose dramatically again in 2007, according to the annual report on hunger and homelessness from the US Conference of Mayors. The 23-city Hunger and Homelessness Survey was released in late December.
Requests for emergency food increased in four of every five cities. Among 15 cities with quantifying data, the median increase in requests for food was 10 percent and in some cities it was much higher. Detroit and some other cities reported seeing more working poor among those seeking food.
In Detroit, emergency food requests shot up 35 percent over the 12-month period ending in October. Officials there noted that "due to a lack of resources, emergency food assistance facilities have had to reduce the number of days and/or hours of operation."