Homeless children: The hard times generation

Scott Pelley reports on the growing number of children who are falling victim to the financial crisis

This story was first published March 6, 2011. It was updated on June 20, 2011.

Unemployment continues to hover around nine percent and job creation is so slow, it'll be years before we get back the seven and a half million jobs lost in the Great Recession. American families have been falling out of the middle class in record numbers.

The combination of lost jobs and millions of foreclosures means a lot of folks are homeless and hungry for the first time in their lives. One of the consequences of the recession that you don't hear much about is the record number of children descending into poverty. The government considers a family of four to be impoverished if they take in less than $22,000 a year. Based on that standard, and the government projections of unemployment, it is estimated that the poverty rate for kids in this country will soon hit 25 percent.

As we first reported last march, those children would be the largest American generation to be raised in hard times since the Great Depression.

The hidden America
It's hard to watch Scott Pelley's reporting on homeless kids without being moved to tears.

Resources in Seminole County:
How you can help
Families in Transition
NAEHCY
Feeding America

In Seminole County, near Orlando, Fla., so many kids have lost their homes that school busses now stop at dozens of cheap motels where families crowd into rooms, living week to week.

Destiny Corfee, 11, joined the line at one local motel a year ago. "I never really noticed what people were actually going through until now; until we're actually going through it too," she told "60 Minutes" correspondent Scott Pelley.

Destiny's parents David and Theresa never imagined their family homeless. Together they were making about $40 an hour detailing expensive cars. There was a three-bedroom home, vacations and extras for the kids. But both jobs went, and then the house. Evicted, they found that the homeless shelters wanted to split their family up - boys and girls.

"That was definitely something that I wasn't gonna have, was being separated at a time like this. I figured the time like this that we needed to be together more than anything," David Corfee said.

So David, Theresa, Destiny, Jorge and Chance, moved into their van.

"I was embarrassed that maybe one of my friends might see me. I don't want anybody to know that I was actually in there," Destiny told Pelley.

The van, according to Destiny, was parked at a WalMart.

Extra: Hitting hard times
Extra: Finding strength while homeless

"We would actually go in WalMart and clean our self up before we'd go to school," her brother Jorge remembered.

"How would you do that?" Pelley asked.

"I would like wash my face, and like, take a tissue and wash my arms and stuff," Jorge explained.

"We would bring the toothpaste and the toothbrush and the brushes so we'll go brush our hair in the mirror and people would see us," Destiny added. "And it would be kind of weird. But we worked through it."

"Tell me about the motel that you're living in now," Pelley said.

"Well, it's a lot better than the van!" Destiny replied.

But Jorge pointed out the living space is small: two rooms for the five of them. Their possessions, family photos - you name it - went into storage. And they lost it all, seized and sold, when they couldn't pay that bill.

"Most of my stuff was in there; my scooter, my game system, all my games, my clothes. So I lost most of my stuff," Jorge said.

"I had so many of my toys and things. My Barbie dolls, clothes, and it was just all gone," Destiny said.

The neighborhood around the motel is scary, she added. "You hear on the news all the time about shootings, and it's all right there."

Produced by Robert G. Anderson, Nicole Young and Daniel Ruetenik

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