So headlining the news this week (or at least yesterday) are the poverty numbers. No surprises: poverty, uninsured, up in 2009.
The nation’s official poverty rate in 2009 was 14.3 percent, up from 13.2 percent in 2008. The number of people without health insurance coverage rose from 46.3 million in 2008 to 50.7 million in 2009, or an increase from 15.4 percent to 16.7 percent of the total population. You can check out the full report on the census website.
What’s that mean? Well, from our perspective, it means that there are more people at risk of experiencing homelessness. If you remember our brief on ”sustainable cost burden”, you know that more than half of poor families spend more than half their monthly income for housing (this is often termed “severe housing cost burden.”) You might also remember that severe housing cost burden is up among individuals and families doubled up.
With need so high, this is exactly the wrong time to be rising the elimination of TANF ECF. This job-creating service to the most vulnerable families is in danger of expiring at the end of the month. We’ve written about it before and there are daily stories cropping up the program’s importance. It seems that the program may be seeing rays of hope – but that doesn’t mean you should rest on your laurels. If you haven’t already (and you better have!) call your senator today.
An interesting report shows that housing problems have become the primary subject of employee-assistance calls. According to reporting from USA Today, child care had long reigned as the subject of employee assistance calls but – staring January 2010 – housing became the primary concern.
And of course, the biggest news of the week is the ending of our photo contest! Submissions are due no later than midnight today. So get in those photos! For inspiration, check out the submissions we’ve received so far in our Flickr album.