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.


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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