The Hidden Homeless

We do not see them camping under bridges, so we assume they do not exist. Children, the hidden homeless, live in a shadow world of insecurity and stress - sleeping in the back seat of cars, piled four or five to a bed in a run-down motel, or even on the floor of a relative’s home.

Desperate to keep them safe and united as a family, mothers call on every friend and family member they know for help. Due to a fear that shelters are unsafe for their kids, many mothers report they would rather sleep in their cars.

In addition to this report, CTL is leading transformative change in Tarrant County a number of ways. CTL spearheads improvements to the homeless service system by working alongside agencies such as Tarrant County Homeless Coalition and area shelters. In addition, we are planning a project that will integrate safe housing as well as affordable childcare, employment and transportation.CTL is also working with policy partners such as the Administration for Children and Families to engage education systems to better meet the needs of children and families.

We are proud to help transform lives. This effort has taken us out of our comfort zone and pushed the boundaries of our transformation work. But we realized – sometimes you have to go big so kids can go home. 

If you're looking for ways to get involved, we encourage you to download the Hidden Homeless full report and its accompanying discussion guide, or click to receive the Hidden Homeless newsletter in your inbox.

“Early childhood homelessness is a national crisis: more than 1 in 19 children in the United States under the age of six are experiencing homelessness. These children aren’t seen, unless we look.


The CRHEC* in Tarrant County looked with eyes wide open. They listened to parents and providers, prioritized the perspective of the child, and developed a cogent set of recommendations to disrupt generational homelessness and build stronger families and communities. This courageous report demands attention from the public and policymakers at every level.”

Barbara Duffield, Executive Director

SchoolHouse Connection, Overcoming Homelessness Through Education

*With CTL’s leadership, the CRHEC will continue this important work through the Coalition for Homeless Children.

Some of the key points include:


  • An estimated 14,981 children experience homelessness each year in Tarrant County

  • All forms of homelessness for children cause trauma, impacting their developing brains as well as physical and emotional health.

  • The lack of affordable housing and childcare, along with limited education and employment opportunities only serve to grow this problem.

  • The current homeless service system is not equipped to handle the realities of homeless children.


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