Archive for December 21st, 2010
Today’s guest post comes to us from Alliance research associate Pete Witte.
Overall, homelessness increased by 2 percent across survey cities and family homelessness increased by 9 percent.
Moreover, 27 percent of homeless people who needed assistance in the last year didn’t receive services. And given the persisting economic circumstances facing these cities, officials in over 70 percent of survey cities expect the number of homeless families to increase in the coming year.
Which is why the report’s insights on strategies, or best practices, to prevent and end homelessness, may be the most important. A number of effective strategies are outlined in the report – and the big success story mentioned over and over again is HPRP. Eleven cities noted that HPRP was effective in addressing homelessness problems in their communities.
Some key findings:
- Every city surveyed reported that requests for emergency food assistance increased over the past year, and those requests increased by an average of 24 percent across the cities.
- Among those requesting emergency food assistance, 56 percent were persons in families.
- Unemployment led the list of causes of hunger cited by the survey cities, followed by high housing costs, low wages, poverty, and lack of access to SNAP/food stamps.
- Among households with children, unemployment led the list of causes for homelessness cited by city officials.
- Providing more mainstream assisted housing led the list of actions needed to reduce homelessness in the survey cities.
- Officials in 48 percent of the survey cities expect resources to provide emergency shelter to decrease over the next year.
Picture courtesy of the U.S. Conference of Mayors.
It’s the first day of winter, the winter solstice, and – coincidentally – a day a lunar eclipse will be visible from North America.
It’s also National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day – one day a year when we honor those people who have died while experiencing homelessness.
Communities across the country get involved. From Asheville, NC to Ventura County, CA to Albany, OR to Jersey City, NJ, communities across the country are taking time to remember our failings and commit to doing better in the future. In Minneapolis, the community has already held a memorial, attended by hundreds in the area.
If you’re interested in holding your own service, you can visit the National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day page on the website of the National Coalition for the homeless and download a how-to manual. But as you’re doing that – and definitely do – remember that it’s up to us to remember people experiencing homelessness more than once a year.
Every night, there are approximately 640,000 people experiencing homelessness in the United State and while the winter nights might be especially hard, summer weather doesn’t make homelessness acceptable. The onus is on us to ensure that all people have a roof over their heads and the opportunity to lead fulfilling, productive lives. Make sure to stay engaged every day of the year – connect with us and stay on top of the things you can do for to end homelessness in your community, in your state, in the country.