Do Holidays Bring Focus on the Human Element of Financial Crisis?

Today I opened The Washington Post (or rather, I went on and I saw two saddening articles about how hard families across America are struggling to stay afloat in the aftermath of the financial crisis: Thanksgiving need at area food pantries reaches record levels, and Foreclosure takes toll on increasing number of children.

The economy may be showing signs of life, but food pantries and other nonprofit food-distribution agencies around the region say they are struggling to meet record-breaking demand as the holidays approach.

… One formerly middle-class woman who was waiting in line in Loudoun County on Friday wept at the “humbling” experience of standing in a food line for the first time. She was too embarrassed to give her name, but she said her Leesburg townhouse is set to be auctioned Dec. 4 and she did not know where her family would go, or how soon after the sale they would be out on the street. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to get through Christmas,” she said.

What is it about the holiday season that makes us show a little more concern and compassion for our fellow humans? Where was this feeling a few months ago, and what will happen when January rolls around? What will happen to the woman whose foreclosure deadline arrives in December?

Three years into the mortgage crisis, the public debate over how to stem the unprecedented tide of foreclosures and the damage they are doing to the housing market has largely overshadowed any discussion of the human toll. But researchers have begun to examine what happens to people after they lose their homes and are becoming especially concerned about the harm done to children.

The number of children displaced has been climbing steadily in recent years, with nearly 40 percent of U.S. school districts surveyed citing foreclosure as the top reason for the surge in homeless students, according to a report this summer by First Focus and the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth.

Every child deserves a secure home, a quality education, and food to nourish them. These are the kind of human rights that The Leadership Conference works every day to ensure. Will you help us?