Today’s Read: The Increasing Problem of Family Homelessness

When new federal data on the prevalence of homelessness was released last week, most news outlets reported that the total homeless population hadn’t increased and that there had been a lessening of the problem among veterans and the chronically homeless. But there is more to the story. The new data show that family homelessness continues to be an increasing problem.

From the New York Times today:

But while conditions may be improving for homeless individuals, they may be getting worse for families with children, who have costlier needs and therefore fewer housing options. Based on agency data, there were about 64,000 more people in families in shelters in 2011 than in 2007 — an increase of about 13 percent.

In New York, the problem is even worse. Between 2007 and 2011, the number of individuals within families increased by 15.5 percent and has continued to increase even more rapidly through 2012. Today, there are over 11,600 families sleeping in New York City shelters each night, including over 20,000 children. These are the highest numbers ever recorded and illustrate the growing inadequacy of Mayor Bloomberg’s response. Today, there continue to be no programs in place to help homeless families move from shelter to permanent housing and the Mayor continues to deny homeless families access to existing affordable housing resources, such as public housing and Section 8 vouchers.

The homeless population in New York now accounts for 11 percent of the entire U.S. homeless population—a shocking reality that must be changed.

Leave a Reply