During a meeting today, Nan mentioned, “homelessness isn’t divorced from all of this.”
And by “all of this,” Nan primarily meant the recession but she also meant the environmental factors that we all witness: rising unemployment, weakened job market, depressed wages, rising housing costs, and all those other economic and social factors that may or may not be a part of an overall recession.
And of course this is true. Not only are all these factors associated with homelessness (they, in fact, contribute to homelessness) but people experiencing homelessness – and those at-risk of homelessness – face these factors just like all people. In fact, the impact of these factors often weigh most heavily on our more vulnerable friends and neighbors who have fewer economic means and a much smaller safety net than other Americans.
As many of you know, the Alliance is preparing to launch a new report entitled, The State of Homelessness in America analyzing homelessness counts and trends from 2008 to 2009. Asides from our regular counts data, we’ll be including four economic indicators and four demographic drivers in the report, including:
- severe housing cost burden
- real income
- doubling up
- aging out of foster care
- lack of insurance
- discharge from incarceration.
We found, as you might imagine, a number of interesting trends when analyzing these factors but one of the key morals of the story is just the point Nan made this morning: homelessness does not exist in a vacuum. It is far from the foreign, alien phenomenon that affects the indigent and incompetent.
It is a tragedy that exists as one part of our community – and one that we can end.
For more insights – and to see what exactly we found out about those factors – don’t’ miss the Alliance’s release of The State of Homelessness in America. For a sneak peek, check out our website.