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Group says Wisconsin doing well in preventing child homelessness

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New Richmond Wisconsin 127 South Knowles Avenue 54017

Wisconsin is the nation's seventh-best state in preventing child homelessness. That's according to the National Center on Family Homelessness.

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It says that in 2006, one of every 50 American youngsters was homeless at some point in their lives and more than 1.5 million kids went to sleep without a home at some time during the year.

The group rated states on their homeless rates, child well-being, and state policies. But advocates say the problem has gotten a lot worse since the economy went south.

The Milwaukee School District has served more than 2,200 kids in its programs for the homeless this year, about 20 percent more than the previous year.

Job losses and a lack of affordable housing are to blame.

Bernie Juno of Waukesha's Hebron House says foreclosures have affected families of all socio-economic levels, and the demand for shelter has jumped 100 percent since 2007.

The national center says kids without homes are twice as likely to be hungry or sick, and twice as likely to drop out of school or repeat a grade.

The group suggests more funding for homeless prevention programs, housing vouchers and work training.

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