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.