Friday, July 10, 2009

Family homelessness up 9% nationally, 56% in suburban areas

Yesterday the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) present its 2008 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress. The report showed that family homelessness is up 9% in shelters with the largest increases being in rural and suburban cities with an increase of 56%.

The good news is that the HUD will be begin to analyze homelessness quarterly (instead of yearly) in order to gain a faster understanding of the economic impact on homelessness. Quarterly reports will be put out by the Homelessness Pulse Project. The project will report on data using a sample of cities and communities.

Here is a snapshot of findings in the first quarter of 2009 (January through March):
  • Of total homeless persons in the study, 55% of the individuals were in household with dependent children.
  • Of sheltered homeless persons, 61% were in households with dependent children.
  • Of unsheltered homeless persons, 6% were in households with dependent children.
Yesterday the HUD also announced Recovery Act funding awards of $1.2 billion throughout the US for rapid re-housing and homelessness prevention. Of the $1.2 billion, Seattle was awarded $4,993,052. Here is a paragraph from the press release to explain what funds will be used for:
Grants provided under HPRP (Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program) are not intended to provide long-term support for individuals and families, nor will they afford mortgage assistance to homeowners facing foreclosure. Rather, HPRP offers a variety of short- and medium-term financial assistance to those who would otherwise become homeless, many due to sudden economic crisis. This can include short-term rental assistance (up to three months), medium-term rental assistance (up to 18 months), security deposits, utility deposits, utility payments, moving cost assistance, and hotel vouchers. Payments will not be made directly to households, but only to third parties, such as landlords or utility companies.
Learn more about how First Place helps families through rental assistance, housing and services.

Additional Links:
CNNMoney: Homeless families spike in the suburbs
CBS News: More Families Joins Ranks of Homeless
News Release: HUD Issues 2008 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress

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