The National Policy and
Advocacy Council on Homelessness is a grass roots anti-poverty
organization. Our mission is to ensure that national homelessness policy
accurately reflects the needs and experiences of local communities.
FACTS ABOUT HOMELESSNESS
The following fact sheets were prepared
in conjunction with a briefing on child and family homelessness for
Congressional Staff on March 18, 2005.
Homelessness and housing
Homelessness and health
Homelessness and education
Homelessness and child welfare
One of the primary sources for understanding homelessness is the annual
US Conference of Mayors Hunger and Homelessness Survey. 24 U.S. cities
participated in the 2005 survey, which revealed the following:
Lack of affordable housing leads the list of causes of homelessness
identified by the city officials. Other causes cited, in order of
frequency include low-paying jobs, mental illness and the lack of needed
services, substance abuse and the lack of needed services, domestic
violence, unemployment, poverty, and prisoner re-entry.
During the past year, requests for emergency shelter
increased in the survey cities by an average of 6 percent, with 71
percent of the cities registering an increase. Requests for shelter by
homeless families alone increased by 5 percent, with 63 percent of the
cities reporting an increase.
An average of 14 percent of the requests for emergency
shelter by homeless people overall and 32 percent of the requests by
homeless families alone are estimated to have gone unmet during the last
year. In 88 percent of the cities, emergency shelters may have to turn
away homeless families due to lack of resources; in 79 percent they may
also have to turn away other homeless people.
People remain homeless an average of seven months in the
survey cities. Eighty-seven percent of the cities said that the length
of time people were homeless increased during the last year.
In 57 percent of the cities, families may have to break
up in order to be sheltered. In 48 percent of the cities families may
have to spend their daytime hours outside of the shelter they use at
Requests for assisted housing by low-income families and individuals increased in 86 percent of the cities during the last year.
Survey cities say that the federal government’s policy
for the evacuees from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita should be extended to
homeless people, especially making housing available within a relatively
short time, and eliminating red tape for other social services.
Ninety-three percent of the survey cities expect that
requests for emergency shelter to increase in 2006. Ninety-five percent
of the survey cities expect that requests for shelter by families to
increase in 2006.
Click here to download the complete survey in Adobe .pdf format.
Posted by Marc Brazeau on December 2, 2006 1:09 PM
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