Homelessness is the condition of people lacking "a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence" as defined by The McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development's Annual Homeless Assessment Report, as of 2017 [update] there were around 554,000 homeless people in the United States on a given night, or 0.17% of the population.
Homelessness is defined as living in housing that is below the minimum standard or lacks secure tenure. People can be categorized as homeless if they are: living on the streets ; moving between temporary shelters, including houses of friends, family and emergency accommodation ; living in private boarding houses without a private bathroom and/or security of tenure. The legal definition of homeless varies from country to country, or among different jurisdictions in the same country or region. According to the UK homelessness charity Crisis, a home is not just a physical space: it also provides roots, identity, security, a sense of belonging and a place of emotional wellbeing. United States government homeless enumeration studies also include people who sleep in a public or private place not designed for use as a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings. People who are homeless are most often unable to acquire and maintain regular, safe, secure and adequate housing due to a lack of, or an unsteady income. Homelessness and poverty are interrelated.
The McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987 is a United States federal law that provides federal money for homeless shelter programs. It was the first significant federal legislative response to homelessness, and was passed by the 100th United States Congress and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on July 22, 1987. The act has been reauthorized several times over the years.
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Homelessness emerged as a national issue in the 1870s.Many homeless people lived in emerging urban cities, such as New York City. Into the 20th century, the Great Depression of the 1930s caused a devastating epidemic of poverty, hunger, and homelessness. There were two million homeless people migrating across the United States. In the 1960s, the deinstitutionalization of patients from state psychiatric hospitals, according to the physician's medical libraries on use of pharmaceuticals, was a precipitating factor which seeded the population of people that are homeless.
The City of New York, usually called either New York City (NYC) or simply New York (NY), is the most populous city in the United States. With an estimated 2018 population of 8,398,748 distributed over a land area of about 302.6 square miles (784 km2), New York is also the most densely populated major city in the United States. Located at the southern tip of the state of New York, the city is the center of the New York metropolitan area, the largest metropolitan area in the world by urban landmass and one of the world's most populous megacities, with an estimated 19,979,477 people in its 2018 Metropolitan Statistical Area and 22,679,948 residents in its Combined Statistical Area. A global power city, New York City has been described as the cultural, financial, and media capital of the world, and exerts a significant impact upon commerce, entertainment, research, technology, education, politics, tourism, art, fashion, and sports. The city's fast pace has inspired the term New York minute. Home to the headquarters of the United Nations, New York is an important center for international diplomacy.
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression that took place mostly during the 1930s, beginning in the United States. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations; in most countries it started in 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s. It was the longest, deepest, and most widespread depression of the 20th century. In the 21st century, the Great Depression is commonly used as an example of how intensely the world's economy can decline.
The number of homeless people grew in the 1980s, as housing and social service cuts increased. After many years of advocacy and numerous revisions, President Ronald Reagan signed into law the McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act in 1987; this remains the only piece of federal legislation that allocates funding to the direct service of homeless people. Over the past decades, the availability and quality of data on homelessness has improved considerably. About 1.56 million people, or about 0.5% of the U.S. population, used an emergency shelter or a transitional housing program between October 1, 2008 and September 30, 2009.Homelessness in the United States increased after the Great Recession.
The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the United States of America. The president directs the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces.
Ronald Wilson Reagan was an American politician who served as the 40th president of the United States from 1981 to 1989. Prior to his presidency, he was a Hollywood actor and union leader before serving as the 33rd governor of California from 1967 to 1975.
The Great Recession in the United States was a severe financial crisis combined with a deep recession. While the recession officially lasted from December 2007 to June 2009, it took several years for the economy to recover to pre-crisis levels of employment and output. This slow recovery was due in part to households and financial institutions paying off debts accumulated in the years preceding the crisis along with restrained government spending following initial stimulus efforts. It followed the bursting of the housing bubble, the housing market correction and subprime mortgage crisis.
In the year 2009, one out of 50 children or 1.5 million children in United States of America will be homeless each year. [ clarification needed ]There were an estimated 57,849 homeless veterans estimated in the United States during January 2013, or 12 percent of all homeless adults. Just over 92 percent of homeless U.S. veterans are male. Texas, California and Florida have the highest numbers of unaccompanied homeless youth under the age of 18, comprising 58% of the total homeless under 18 youth population. Homelessness affects men more than women. In the United States, about 60% of all homeless people are men. . However about 71% of all homeless individuals are male.
Because of turnover in the population of people that are homeless, the total number of people who experience homelessness for at least a few nights during the course of a year is thought to be considerably higher than point-in-time counts. A 2000 study estimated the number of such people to be between 2.3 million and 3.5 million. According to Amnesty International USA, vacant houses outnumber homeless people by five times. A December 2017 investigation by Philip Alston, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, found that homeless persons have effectively been criminalized throughout many cities in the United States.
Amnesty International USA is one of many country sections that make up Amnesty International worldwide.
Philip G. Alston is an Australian international law scholar and committed human rights practitioner. He is John Norton Pomeroy Professor of Law at New York University School of Law, and co-Chair of the law school's Center for Human Rights and Global Justice. In human rights law, Alston has held a range of senior UN appointments for over two decades, including United Nations Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, a position he held from August 2004 to July 2010. In 2014, described as an independent expert, he was appointed to an unpaid role as UN Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.
Causes of homelessness in the United States include lack of affordable housing, divorce, lawful eviction, negative cash flow, post traumatic stress disorder, foreclosure, fire, natural disasters (hurricane, earthquake, or flood), mental illness, physical disability, having no family or supportive relatives, substance abuse, lack of needed services, elimination of pensions and unemployment entitlements, no or inadequate income sources (such as Social Security, stock dividends, or annuity), poverty (no net worth), gambling, unemployment, and low-paying jobs. Homelessness in the United States affects many segments of the population, including families, children, domestic violence victims, ex-convicts, veterans, and the aged. Efforts to assist the homeless include federal legislation, non-profit efforts, increased access to healthcare services, supportive housing, and affordable housing.
Family homelessness is the phenomenon of whole family units experiencing homelessness. In some Western countries, such as the United States, family homelessness is a new form of poverty, and a fast growing group of the homelessness population. Homelessness is one of our nation’s most misunderstood and vexing social problems. Some American researchers argue that family homelessness is the inevitable result of imbalanced “low-income housing ratio” where there are more low-income households than there are low-cost housing units. In January 2018 an estimated 180,413 people in families, or 56,342 family households, were identified as homeless. Approximately 16,390 people in families were living on the street, in a car, or in another place not meant for human habitation. Homeless families are generally thought to be headed by women. In the United States, homeless families make up about a third of all homeless people in the country. For female headed homeless families, mothers are more frequently abused as children and battered as adults than housed mothers. They don't have a support network or extended family close by, and the frequency of drug, alcohol, and serious psychiatric problems are greater among homeless mothers. Psychiatric disabilities may also be a contributing factor.
Affordable housing is housing which is deemed affordable to those with a median household income or below as rated by the national government or a local government by a recognized housing affordability index. Most of the literature on affordable housing refers to mortgages and number of forms that exist along a continuum – from emergency shelters, to transitional housing, to non-market rental, to formal and informal rental, indigenous housing, and ending with affordable home ownership.
Foreclosure is a legal process in which a lender attempts to recover the balance of a loan from a borrower who has stopped making payments to the lender by forcing the sale of the asset used as the collateral for the loan.
Following the Peasants' Revolt in England, constables were authorized under 1383 English Poor Laws statute to collar vagabonds and force them to show support; if they could not, the penalty was gaol.
Vagabonds could be sentenced to the stocks for three days and nights; in 1530, whipping was added. The presumption was that vagabonds were unlicensed beggars.In 1547, a bill was passed that subjected vagrants to some of the more extreme provisions of the criminal law, namely two years servitude and branding with a "V" as the penalty for the first offense and death for the second.
Large numbers of vagabonds were among the convicts transported to the American colonies in the 18th century.
Homelessness emerged as a national issue in the 1870s. There are no national figures documenting homeless people demography at this time.Jacob Riis wrote about, documented, and photographed the poor and destitute, although not specifically homeless people, in New York City tenements in the late 19th century. His book, How the Other Half Lives , published in 1890, raised public awareness of living conditions in the slums, causing some changes in building codes and some social conditions.
The growing movement toward social concern sparked the development of rescue missions, such as America's first rescue mission, the New York City Rescue Mission, founded in 1872 by Jerry and Maria McAuley.In smaller towns, there were hobos, who temporarily lived near train tracks and hopped onto trains to various destinations. Especially following the American Civil War, a large number of homeless men formed part of a counterculture known as "hobohemia" all over America.
By the late 19th century, many American towns and cities had significant numbers of homeless people [ citation needed ]. In New York City, for example, there was an area known as "the Bowery." Rescue missions offering "soup, soap, and salvation", a phrase introduced by The Salvation Army, sprang up along the Bowery thoroughfare, including the oldest one, The Bowery Mission. The mission was founded in 1879 by the Rev. and Mrs. A.G. Ruliffson.
The Great Depression of the 1930s caused a devastating epidemic of poverty, hunger, and homelessness. There were two million homeless people migrating across the United States.Many lived in shantytowns they called "Hoovervilles" deriding the President they blamed for the Depression. Residents lived in shacks and begged for food or went to soup kitchens. Authorities did not officially recognize these Hoovervilles and occasionally removed the occupants for technically trespassing on private lands, but they were frequently tolerated out of necessity.
A 1960 survey by Temple University of Philadelphia's poor neighborhoods found that 75 percent of the people that are homeless were over 45 years old, and 87 percent were white.
The Community Mental Health Act of 1963 was a pre-disposing factor in setting the stage for homelessness in the United States.Long term psychiatric patients were released from state hospitals into Single Room Occupancies and sent to community health centers for treatment and follow-up. Never adequately funded, the community mental health system struggled to meet patient needs and many of the "deinstitutionalized" wound up living on the streets, with no sustainable support system. In the United States, during the late 1970s, the deinstitutionalization of patients from state psychiatric hospitals was a precipitating factor which seeded the population of people that are homeless, especially in urban areas such as New York City.
The number of homeless people grew in the 1980s, as housing and social service cuts increased and the economy deteriorated. The United States government determined that somewhere between 200,000 and 500,000 Americans were then homeless.There were some U.S. federal initiatives that aimed to help, end and prevent homelessness, however, there were no designated homeless-related programs in the Office of Management and Budget.
The History of the United States (1980–1991) illustrates that this was a time when there was economic distress, high unemployment, and was the period when chronic homelessness became a societal problem. In 1980, federal funds accounted for 22% of big city budgets, but by 1989 the similar aid composed only 6% of urban revenue (part of a larger 60% decrease in federal spending to support local governments).It is largely (although not exclusively) in these urban areas that homelessness became widespread and reached unprecedented numbers. Most notable were cuts to federal low-income housing programs. An advocacy group claims that Congress halved the budget for public housing and Section 8 (the government's housing voucher subsidization program) and that between the years of 1980 and 1989 HUD's budget authority was reduced from $74 billion to $19 billion. Such alleged changes are claimed to have resulted in an inadequate supply of affordable housing to meet the growing demand of low-income populations. In 1970 there were 300,000 more low-cost rental units (6.5 million) than low-income renter households (6.2 million). By 1985, the advocacy group claimed that the number of low-cost units had fallen to 5.6 million, and the number of low-income renter households had grown to 8.9 million, a disparity of 3.3 million units.
In response to the ensuing homelessness crisis of the 1980s and after many years of advocacy and numerous revisions, President Reagan signed into law the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act in 1987; this remains the only piece of federal legislation that allocates funding to the direct service of homeless people. The McKinney-Vento Act paved the way for service providers in the coming years. During the 1990s homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and other supportive services sprouted up in cities and towns across the nation. However, despite these efforts and the dramatic economic growth marked by this decade, homeless numbers remained stubbornly high. It became increasingly apparent that simply providing services to alleviate the symptoms of homelessness (i.e. shelter beds, hot meals, psychiatric counseling, etc.), although needed, were not successful at solving the root causes of homelessness. The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH), a federal agency contained in the Executive Branch, was established in 1987 as a requirement of the McKinney-Vento Act of 1987.
Over the past decades, the availability and quality of data on homelessness has improved considerably, due, in part, to initiatives by the United States government. Since 2007, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued an Annual Homeless Assessment Report, which revealed the number of individuals and families that were homeless, both sheltered and unsheltered.In 2009, there were about 643,000 sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons nationwide. About two-thirds of those stayed in emergency shelters or used transitional housing programs, with the remaining living on the street in abandoned buildings or other areas not meant for human habitation. About 1.56 million people, or about 0.5% of the U.S. population, used an emergency shelter or a transitional housing program between October 1, 2008 and September 30, 2009. Around 44% of homeless people were employed.
According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development's 2008 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, the most common demographic features of all sheltered homeless people are: male, members of minority groups, older than age 31, and alone. More than 40 percent of sheltered homeless people have a disability. At the same time, sizable segments of the sheltered homeless population are white, non-Hispanic (38 percent), children (20 percent), or part of multi-person households (33 percent). Approximately 68 percent of the 1.6 million sheltered homeless people were homeless as individuals and 32 percent were persons in families.
In 2008 more than 66 percent of all sheltered homeless people were located in principal cities, with 32 percent located in suburban or rural jurisdictions. About 40 percent of people entering an emergency shelter or transitional housing program during 2008 came from another homeless situation (sheltered or unsheltered), 40 percent came from a housed situation (in their own or someone else's home), and the remaining 20 percent were split between institutional settings or other situations such as hotels or motels. Most people had relatively short lengths of stay in emergency shelters: 60 percent stayed less than a month, and a 33 percent stayed a week or less.
"In 2004 the United States Conference of Mayors... surveyed the mayors of major cities on the extent and causes of urban homelessness and most of the mayors named the lack of affordable housing as a cause of homelessness.... The next three causes identified by mayors, in rank order, were mental illness or the lack of needed services, substance abuse and lack of needed services, and low-paying jobs. The lowest ranking cause, cited by five mayors, was prisoner reentry. Other causes cited were unemployment, domestic violence, and poverty."
The major causes of homelessness include:
Causes could include mental illness, addiction, disenfranchised individuals, poor self-confidence and/or by individual freedom of choice. Another cause is temporary unemployment and or temporary unaffordable housing in a variety of geographical locations.
In response to the Great Recession in the United States, President Obama signed several pieces of legislation that addressed the homelessness crisis. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 addressed homelessness prevention, in which he allocated an additional $1.5 billion to HUD for the "Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Rehousing Program (HPRP)." The purpose of HPRP was to assist individuals and families who are otherwise healthy and not chronically homeless in escaping homelessness or preventing homelessness of the vulnerable population.On May 20, 2009, President Obama signed the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act into Public Law (Public Law 111-22 or "PL 111-22"), reauthorizing HUD's Homeless Assistance programs. It was part of the Helping Families Save Their Homes Act of 2009. The HEARTH act allows for the prevention of homelessness, rapid re-housing, consolidation of housing programs, and new homeless categories.
In the first year of the new decade, the Federal government launched of Opening Doors: The Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.Opening Doors is a publication of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which worked with all Federal agencies and many state and local stakeholders on its creation and vision, setting a ten-year path for the nation on preventing and ending all types of homelessness. This plan was presented to the President and Congress in a White House Ceremony on June 22, 2010.
A federal court ruled in September 2018 that cities can't punish homeless people for sleeping in public when the homeless shelters are full.
According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors, the demand for emergency shelter in 270 U.S. cities increased 13 percent in 2001 and 25 percent in 2005.22 percent of those requesting emergency shelter were turned away.
Into 2016, homelessness is considered an epidemic in several U.S. cities. "Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and seven of the 15 City Council members announced they would declare a state of emergency and try to find $100 million to cure what has become a municipal curse."Homelessness in New York City has tripled since January 2000, from approximately 20,000 people using provided nightly shelter services to more than 60,000 in January 2015. These counts do not include those persons who choose to stay away from shelter providers.
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development acknowledges four categories of people who qualify as legally homeless: (1) those who are currently homeless, (2) those who will become homeless in the imminent future, (3) certain youths and families with children who suffer from home instability caused by a hardship, and (4) those who suffer from home instability caused by domestic violence.
According to the Stewart B. McKinney Act, 42 U.S.C. § 11301, et seq. (1994), a person is considered homeless if they "lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence and ... has a primary nighttime residency that is: (A) a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations... (B) an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized, or (C) a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings." Human Rights Watch (2010) identified emancipated teenagers in California as a new homeless population.
Homeless veterans are persons who have served in the armed forces who are homeless or living without access to secure and appropriate accommodation. There were an estimated 57,849 homeless veterans estimated in the United States during January 2013; or 12 percent of all homeless adults. Just under 8 percent of homeless U.S. veterans are female.
Throughout the 21st Century, homeless service providers and the Federal government have been able to reduce chronic homelessness and homelessness among Veterans with targeted efforts and interagency cooperation on initiatives like the HUD-VASH program.
The number of homeless children in the US grew from 1.2 million in 2007 to 1.6 million in 2010. The US defines homelessness as "individuals who lack a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence," per McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act.The number of homeless children reached record highs in 2011, 2012, and 2013 at about three times their number in 1983. An "estimated two million [youth] run away from or are forced out of their homes each year" in the United States. The difference in these numbers can be attributed to the temporary nature of street children in the United States, unlike the more permanent state in developing countries.
One out of 50 children or 1.5 million children in United States of America will be homeless each year. million.In 2013 that number jumped to one out of 30 children, or 2.5
Texas, California and Florida have the highest numbers of unaccompanied homeless youth under the age of 18; comprising 58% of the total homeless under 18 youth population
Street children in the United States tend to stay in the state, 83% do not leave their state of origin.If they leave, street children are likely to end up in large cities, notably New York City, Los Angeles, Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco. Street children are predominantly Caucasian and female in the United States, and 42% identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT).
The United States government has been making efforts since the late 1970s to accommodate this section of the population.The Runaway and Homeless Youth Act of 1978 made funding available for shelters and funded the National Runaway Switchboard. Other efforts include the Child Abuse and Treatment Act of 1974, the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System, and the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. There has also been a decline of arrest rates in street youth, dropping in 30,000 arrests from 1998 to 2007. Instead, the authorities are referring homeless youth to state-run social service agencies.
College youth that are homeless account for over one million of the young homeless population.According to the Free Application Federal Student Aid, also known as FAFSA, in 2013, over 58,000 students identified as homeless on their application. "The federal government defines these unaccompanied homeless youth (UHY) as individuals who do not have "fixed, regular and adequate" housing and who are "not in the physical custody of a parent or adult." The McKinney Vento Act is considered the key piece of federal legislation pertaining to educational support for homeless children and teens. The causes of homelessness varies from student to student. There are two types of homeless college students: 1. students that are homeless upon entering college and 2. students who become homeless during college. For the youth that become homeless upon entering college, this situation represents the students that are having trouble sustaining housing due to job loss of their parent or guardian, the lack of a parent or guardian or because youth has been asked to leave the home or decided to runaway. The reasons for a college youth to become homeless while attending college are as follows: unable to sustain the financial expenses for housing and food. Secondly, by having the financial support given by family revoked. Fortunately, there are programs available at state colleges and universities that provide students with the necessary resources to obtain financial and housing stability and sustainability. There are also organizations such as the National Association For The Education Of Homeless Children and Youth (NAEHCY) that advocate for a higher education so the children and youth can fulfill their dreams. Another innovative model that can be of great help to college students experiencing homelessness is Single Stop USA, which operates in community colleges to help connect low-income students to the resources they need, including housing, to not only stay in school but to excel
According to a survey, Massachusetts Youth Risk Behavior Survey, one in four teens that participated in this survey who identify as gay or lesbian are homeless. Various sources report between 20 percent and 40 percent identify as LGBT. Research shows that a disproportionate number of homeless youth in the United States identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, or LGBT. In addition, LGBT youth are at greater risk for risky sexual behavior, substance abuse, and mental health issues.
The topic of homeless families first emerged in the United States during the 1980s when social welfare programs were being cut and high rates of income equality, child poverty, and the lack of affordable housing were becoming an issue. The issue of homeless families came back in 2009 after the Recession, which replicated the same issues from the 80's.The 2000s saw a new population of those experiencing homelessness: families with children. While an emerging problem at the beginning of the decade, the problem continued to persist through 2010. At the close of the decade the trend continued unabated, with the number of individuals in homeless families increasing from 431,541 in 2007 to 535,447 in 2009. In 2011, the National Center of Homelessness unveiled statistics of a study they operated that ranked the United States number one with the most homeless families among other progressive countries.
The state of New York has the highest number of family households experiencing homelessness. There are an estimated 16,297 homeless family households in New York as of January 2017. – 77 households that experience homelessness in 2017.Then goes California with 7,168 homeless family households and Massachusetts with 3,430. The state with the smallest number is North Dakota
Another study discovered that the three biggest risk factors that contributed to family homelessness in the United States are: ethnicity, lack of resources (specifically funds), and young children/pregnancy.There is also a strong correlation between homeless families and households run and financed by a single female, especially one from a minority group and with at least two children. Single-income families, especially those below the federal poverty line, have a harder time finding housing than other families, especially given the limited affordable housing options. Homeless families do not always take refuge in shelters, but being homeless also does not necessarily mean living on the streets. Homeless women with children are more likely to live with family or friends than those without children, and this group is treated with higher priority by both the government and society. This preference can be seen in the existence of shelters exclusively serving women with children.
As recently as 2017 across the United States, on any given night, there are approximately 85,000 chronically homeless people can be found sleeping on the streets or in shelters. A chronically home individual is defined as an unaccompanied person who has been homeless for a consecutive year (or four or more periods of homelessness within the last three years) with a disability preventing them from working . This definition was expanded in 2009 due to the HEARTH act to include families who were experiencing prolonged or repeating homelessness due to a disabled parent. Leaving these individuals to remain on the streets can cost taxpayers up to $50,000 per year for a single chronically homeless individual by them cycling in and out of treatment facilities, jails, hospitals and other institutional care facilities . There is, however, a proven solution to ending chronic homelessness in Supportive Housing or Housing First programs by giving these people homes and access to the help they need. Since 2007 the number of chronically homeless individuals has decreased by 33% with Utah even reporting to have achieved an end to chronic homelessness .
The community of homeless people in the United States is aided by governmental and non-governmental organizations. According to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, in 2017, the number of people experiencing homelessness in unsheltered locations increased for a second straight year by 9% between 2016 and 2017This issue is partly caused by a lack of affordable housing and is exacerbated by the criminalization of behaviors associated with homelessness. This problem is also costly for the country in supporting these individuals. Multiple studies have demonstrated success in reducing the homeless population as well as its harmful financial and societal effects by providing these individuals with a combination of housing without preconditions and supportive care. These studies include the 2014 Housing first implementation of the Department of Veterans Affairs National Center on Homelessness Among Veterans and a study performed through Brown University. If these methods were adopted nationwide, there is a chance that the United States could be successful in reintegrating a greater percentage of the homeless into society than ever before.
Homeless individuals report a lack of affordable housing as the number one reason for becoming homeless.Many non-profit organizations are in operation to serve this need—for example, the National Low Income Housing Coalition—but most lack the funding necessary to create enough housing. Several proposed policy measures are designed to secure such funding, such as the National Housing Trust Fund, but these have not been signed into law.
The two main types of housing programs provided for homeless people are transitional and permanent housing. Transitional housing programs are operated with one goal in mind – to help individuals and families obtain permanent housing as quickly as possible. Transitional housing programs assist homeless for a fixed amount of time or until they are able to obtain housing on their own and function successfully in the community, or whichever comes first.
Some shelters and associated charitable foundations have bought buildings and real estate to develop into permanent housing for the homeless in lieu of transitional Housing.
The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development and Veterans Administration have a special Section 8 housing voucher program called VASH (Veterans Administration Supported Housing), or HUD-VASH, which gives out a certain number of Section 8 subsidized housing vouchers to eligible homeless and otherwise vulnerable US armed forces veterans.The HUD-VASH program has been successful in housing many homeless veterans.
Housing First has met with success since its initial implementations in 2009 by providing relatively no strings-attached housing to homeless people with substance abuse problems or mental health issues. Housing First allows homeless men and women to be taken directly off the street into private community-based apartments, without requiring treatment first. This allows the homeless to return to some sense of normalcy, from which it is believed that they are better-poised to tackle their addictions or sicknesses. The relapse rate through these types of programs is lower than that of conventional homeless programs.
Housing First was initiated by the federal government's Interagency Council on Homelessness. It asks cities to come up with a plan to end chronic homelessness under the assumption that if homeless people are given independent housing immediately with some social and financial support, then there will be reduced needs for emergency homeless shelters.
As of 2018, the number of U.S. citizens residing in their vehicles because they can't find affordable housing has "exploded", particularly in cities with steep increases in the cost of living such as Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland, and San Francisco.Bloomberg reported in November 2018 that the wealthiest cities in the U.S., in particular those in the Western states, are experiencing a homelessness crisis driven largely by stagnant wages and "skyrocketing rents".
In 2019, Google had pledged one billion USD into funding 20,000 homes over the next decade throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.The metropolitan area of San Francisco has some of the most expensive real estate in the United States, and affordable housing is scarce.
Homeless individuals report mental illness as being the number three reason for becoming or staying homeless.Such illnesses are often closely linked with the fourth reason—substance abuse—and therefore it is generally accepted that both of these issues should be treated simultaneously. Although many medical, psychiatric, and counseling services exist to address these needs, it is commonly believed that without the support of reliable and stable housing such treatments remain ineffective. Furthermore, in the absence of a universal healthcare plan, many of those in need cannot afford such services. Proposed legislation such as the Bringing America Home Act are intended to provide comprehensive treatment for many homeless mental and substance abuse patients.
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There are several policies dealing with homelessness. In 1980 the government decided to start sending funding to people that are homeless, but it was not until 1984 that shelters were built to accommodate and feed them. As it was shown though seventy percent required homeless people to attend a religious ceremony and spend only a couple of nights there. In the 1987 McKinney Act the problem with homelessness became known as a huge social problem. Later on, the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (P.L. 107-110) amended the program explicitly to prohibit states that receive McKinney-Vento funds from segregating homeless students from non-homeless students, except for short periods of time for health and safety emergencies or to provide temporary, special, supplementary services. The Chronic Homelessness Initiative. The George W. Bush Administration established a national goal of ending chronic homelessness in ten years, by 2012. The idea of a 10-year plan to end chronic homelessness began as a part of a 10-year plan to end homelessness in general adopted by the National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) in 2000. The following year, then-Secretary Martinez announced HUD's commitment to ending chronic homelessness at the NAEH annual conference. In 2002, as a part of his FY2003 budget, President Bush made "ending chronic homelessness in the next decade a top objective." The bi-partisan, congressionally mandated, Millennial Housing Commission, in its Report to Congress in 2002, included ending chronic homelessness in 10 years among its principal recommendations. By 2003, the Interagency Council on Homelessness had been re-engaged and charged with pursuing the President's 10-year plan. The Administration has recently undertaken some collaborative efforts to reach its goal of ending chronic homelessness in 10 years. On October 1, 2003, the Administration announced the award of over $48 million in grants aimed at serving the needs of the chronically homeless through two initiatives. The "Ending Chronic Homelessness through Employment and Housing"initiative was a collaborative grant offered jointly by HUD and the Department of Labor (DOL). The initiative offered $10 million from HUD and $3.5 million from DOL to help the chronically homeless in five communities gain access to employment and permanent housing. Section 8 is the core housing program that helps extremely low-income families accommodate the gap between their incomes below 30 percent of the median income for each community. The government assists homeless families by awarding grants and vouchers. Vouchers are available to the families who are most needy and they are used to pay for housing found in the private market. Currently there are policy changes in who receives vouchers and there will be a reduction in the number of vouchers granted to the population of people that are homeless .
Public libraries can and often do significantly assist with the issues presented by homelessness. In many communities, the library is the only facility that offers free computer and internet access, so this is where many people experiencing homelessness go to locate services for basic needs such as healthcare, education, and housing. Libraries computers are also necessary for building a resume, searching for open jobs in the area, and completing job applications.
The news article and video entitled, "SF library offers Social Services to Homeless,"speaks about the San Francisco library having a full-time social worker at the library to reduce and help homeless patrons. It mentions that Leah Esguerra, who is a psychiatric social worker, has a usual routine which is done by making her rounds to different homeless patrons and greeting them to see if she could help them. She offers help in different forms that could range from linking patrons with services or providing them with mental health counseling. She also supervises a 12-week vocational program that culminates in gainful employment in the library for the formerly homeless (Knight, 2010). The changes have garnered positive results from all patrons. Since this service started, staff at the library stated that they have noticed a drop in inappropriate behavior. The addition of Social Workers in the library has multiple benefits as they can assist with issues such as education; emergency services (food, clothing, housing, and crisis support); employment; family matters; health improvement (including health insurance); immigration; and support groups for men, women, and teens.
The San Jose University Library became one of the first academic libraries to pay attention to the needs of homeless people and implement changes to better serve this population. In 2007, the merged University Library and Public Library made the choice to be proactive in reaching out. Collaborations with nonprofit organizations in the area culminated in computer classes being taught, as well as nutrition classes, family literacy programs, and book discussion groups.After eighteen months, the library staff felt they still were not doing enough and "analyzed program participation trends supplemented by observation and anecdotes" in order to better understand the information needs of homeless people. When it was understood that these needs are complex, additional customer service training was provided to all staff who were interested. Once the staff more fully understood the needs of homeless people, it was determined that many programs in place already, with a few minor adjustments, would be helpful to homeless people. Programs were tailored to meet these needs. Additional changes implemented included temporary computer passes and generous in-house reading space to counteract the policies in place that may prevent a homeless person from obtaining a library card. New York Public Library offers services to homeless people that are residing in shelters.
The Dallas Public Library started "Coffee and Conversation" which is part of their Homeless Engagement Initiative. The staff hopes these bimonthly events between staff and homeless patrons will help them better serve the homeless people population in Dallas.They also sponsor Street View podcast, a library produced podcast featuring the stories and experiences of the city's homeless population. Guests often include social service providers.
In May 1991, Richard Kreimer, a homeless man in Morristown, N.J. sued the local public library and the Town of Morristown for expelling him from the library after other patrons complained about his disruptive behavior and pungent body odor. He later won the case and settled for $250,000.
The downtown partnership in Nashville, Tennessee conducted a census on businesses. 60% of responded identified public inebriates, transients and vagrants affect their employees, clients and customers. Businesses were solicited to identify issues that need to be addressed. Transients and panhandlers ranked were in the top five issues.Two 7-Eleven locations in Sacramento, California and Portland, Oregon that have been so troubled by panhandler and vagrants briefly employed high pitched noise maker to repel them. Shoppers' opinions were divided on the use panhandler and vagrant repelling device as the noise itself, as well as what the noise was intended to repel were both nuisance. A local news source 750 KXL in Portland described the sidewalk in front of a Downtown Portland, Oregon 7-Eleven was "barely walkable" for years transform to clean and orderly for the first time in years after the repelling device was installed by the building's owner, Standard Insurance Company. The manager of the 7-Eleven told reporters he'd see as many as a dozen transients loitering in front of his store all at once. The building's owner issued a statement that the goal was to protect the "safety of their employees, tenants, and guests in a location that’s been consistently plagued by public drug use and menacing behavior." The 7-Eleven told reporters transients loitering in front of his store adversely affects his business. After several complaints were made to the city, the city announced the deterrent device as used in this situation did not comply with the city noise code. The device was shut off when reporters made a follow up visit. The manager commented it was effective for the duration they were used. A manager for a Modesto, California 7-Eleven also attested to the effectiveness of sound for deterring undesirable activity commenting that "Once the music started, the riffraff left"
Homelessness has a tremendous effect on a child's education. Education of homeless youth is thought to be essential in breaking the cycle of poverty. The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act mandates equal opportunity to a free public education to homeless students. This act is supposed to break down the barriers homeless students have to receiving an education. These barriers include residency restriction, medical record verification, and transportation issues. Once a student surpasses these barriers, they are still subject to the stigma of being homeless, and the humiliation they feel because of their situation. Some families do not report their homelessness, while others are unaware of the opportunities available to them. Many report that maintaining a stable school environment helps the students because it's the only thing that remains normal.Many homeless students fall behind their peers in school due to behavioral disorders, and lack of attendance in school.
Since the United States housing bubble collapse, there has been a rise in the number of homeless students. NAEHCY or the National Association for the Education of Homeless for Children and Youth, has reported a 99% increase in homeless students within a three-month period (San Diego).
Of 1,636 schools, 330 reported no increase, 847 reported an increase of half, and 459 reported an increase of 25 percent or more. Due to underfunding many school districts are struggling to provide the necessary services to support homeless students, as mandated in the provisions of the McKinney-Vento Act, such as rising transportation needs and the greater range and usefulness of services. Wisconsin Rapids Public Schools Homeless Liaison Heather Lisitza says:
One of the biggest challenges our district faces is providing transportation to students who are experiencing homelessness. There are few approaches that our district can utilize to provide transportation for these students. Our city has only one taxi cab service and no public bus system. Our cab company is small and simply cannot fulfill all of our transportation requests. When it's possible, we add students to existing bus routes or set up a contractual agreement with the student's parent/guardian. However, there have been many situations where none of these options have worked. Another challenge our district faces is providing proper outer-wear for students who are homeless. Being that we live in central Wisconsin and have long, cold winters, all students need proper outerwear to go outside. Proper outerwear includes snow boots, hat, mittens, snow pants, and a winter jacket that has a working zipper or buttons on it. This expense adds up quickly and is hard to provide to the increasing number of homeless students.
This is especially worrisome since homeless students are 1) 1.5 times more likely to perform below grade level in reading; 2) 1.5 times more likely to perform below grade level in spelling; and 3) 2.5 times more likely to perform below grade level in math.There are a few worries that there will be false reports of homeless students, but mostly it's not an issue.
Various laws have both directly and indirectly criminalized people that are homelessand people attempting to feed homeless people outdoors. At least 31 cities have criminalized feeding people that are homeless.
In 2014, the United Nations Human Rights Committee criticized the United States for the criminalization of homelessness, noting that such "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment" is in violation of international human rights treaty obligations.
Measures passed "prohibit activities such as sleeping/camping, eating, sitting, and begging in public spaces, usually including criminal penalties for violation of these laws."Violators of such laws typically incur criminal penalties, which result in fines and/or incarceration.
In April 2006 the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that "making it a crime to be homeless by charging them with a crime is in violation of the 8th and 14th Amendments."However, on October 15, 2007, the Court vacated its Opinion when, on appeal the parties settled the case out of court.
The City could not expressly criminalize the status of homelessness by making it a crime to be homeless without violating the Eighth Amendment, nor can it criminalize acts that are an integral aspect of that status. Because there is substantial and undisputed evidence that the number of homeless persons in Los Angeles far exceeds the number of available shelter beds at all times, including on the nights of their arrest or citation, Los Angeles has encroached upon Appellants' Eighth Amendment protections by criminalizing the unavoidable act of sitting, lying or sleeping at night while being involuntarily homeless.
... the Eighth Amendment prohibits the City from punishing involuntary sitting, lying, or sleeping on public sidewalks that is an unavoidable consequence of being human and homeless without shelter in the City of Los Angeles.
... By our decision, we in no way dictate to the City that it must provide sufficient shelter for the homeless, or allow anyone who wishes to sit, lie, or sleep on the streets of Los Angeles at any time and at any place within the City. All we hold is that, so long as there is a greater number of homeless individuals in Los Angeles than the number of available beds, the City may not enforce section 41.18(d) at all times and places throughout the City against homeless individuals for involuntarily sitting, lying, and sleeping in public.
In August 2012, a federal district judge in Philadelphia ruled that laws prohibiting serving food to homeless people outdoors were unconstitutional.
On June 19, 2014 the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit struck down a 1983 ordinance in the city of Los Angeles which "bans people from living in cars or recreational vehicles on city streets or in parking lots" as being "unconstitutionally vague ... Unlike other cities, which ban overnight parking or sleeping in vehicles, Los Angeles' law prohibits using cars as 'living quarters; both overnight and 'day-by-day, or otherwise.'"
Homeless rights advocates are pushing for "Right to Rest" bills in several states in 2015, which would overturn laws that target homeless people for sitting, eating, and sleeping in public places.
Since the 1990s, there has been a growing number of violent acts committed upon people experiencing homelessness. The rate of such documented crimes in 2005 was 30% higher than of those in 1999.75 percent of all perpetrators are under the age of 25.
In recent years, largely due to the efforts of the National Coalition for the Homeless (NCH) and academic researchers, the problem of violence against homeless people has gained national attention. In their report: Hate, Violence, and Death on Mainstreet USA, the NCH reported 386 violent acts committed against homeless persons over the period, among which 155 were lethal. The NCH called those acts hate crimes (they retain the definition of the American Congress). They insist that so called bumfight videos disseminate hate against homeless people and dehumanize them.
The Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism (CSHE) at California State University, San Bernardino in conjunction with the NCH found that 155 homeless people were killed by non-homeless people in "hate killings", while 76 people were killed in all the other traditional hate crime homicide categories such as race and religion, combined.The CSHE contends that negative and degrading portrayals of people that are homeless contribute to a climate where violence takes place.
Various studies and surveys indicate that homeless people have a much higher criminal victimization rate than the non-homeless, but that most incidents never get reported to authorities. A 2007 study found that the number of violent crimes against homeless people is increasing.In 2013, there were 109 attacks on homeless people, a 24 percent increase on the previous year, according to the NCH. Eighteen people died as a result of the attacks. In July 2014, three boys 15, 16 and 18, were arrested and charged with beating to death two homeless men with bricks and a metal pole in Albuquerque.
As in other countries, criminals – both individuals and organized groups – sometimes exploit homeless people, ranging from identity theft to tax and welfare scams.Homeless people, and homeless organizations, are also known to be accused or convicted of frauds and scams. These incidents often lead to negative impressions of the homeless by the general public.
Homelessness is a public welfare and health epidemic within the United States. Any period of homelessness is associated with adverse health consequences.These adverse health consequences are associated with poor living conditions and a lack of access to treatment facilities. Due to living in extreme poverty it is unlikely for an individual or a family to have a healthcare plan. These healthcare plans are important in obtaining treatment for illnesses or injury from treatment facilities. Without it, individuals and families are left to deal with their ailments themselves or endure further financial burden by receiving treatments without a health insurance plan. Respiratory infections and outbreaks of tuberculosis and other aerosol transmitted infections have been reported. Homeless intravenous drug users are at an increased risk of contracting HIV, and hepatitis B and C infections. The close living spaces of areas such as Skid Row in California provide an environment in which infectious diseases can spread easily. These areas with a high concentration of homeless individuals are dirty environments with little resources for personal hygiene. It was estimated in a report to congress that 35% of homeless were in unsheltered locations not suitable for human habitation. There is a bidirectional relationship between homelessness and poor health. Homelessness exacts a heavy toll on individuals and the longer individuals experience homelessness, the more likely they are to experience poor health and be at higher risk for premature death. Health conditions, such as substance abuse and mental illness, can increase people's susceptibility to homelessness. Conversely, homelessness can further cause health issues as they come with constant exposure to environmental threat such as hazards of violence and communicable diseases. Homeless people suffer from disproportionately high rates of poly substance abuse, mental illness, physical health problems and legal issues/barriers in attaining employment. Lack of health insurance and the multiple exigencies of the homeless condition inhibit many homeless persons from receiving care.
Large number of homeless people work but few homeless people are able to generate significant earnings from employment alone.Physical health problems also limit work or daily activities which are barriers to employment. Drug and alcohol abuse and dependence are positively associated with lower work level but are negatively related to higher work level. Those with physical health problems are substantially more likely than those with mental health problems to be in the more generous disability programs. Substance use disorders are also a barrier to participation in disability programs. Rates of participation in government programs are low, and people with major mental disorders have low participation rate in disability programs.
There are risks to seeking refuge in shelters, which are heightened and more noticeable for children. Such risks include health problems such as malnutrition from lack of access to food with nutritional content, behavioral problems associated with coping, social insecurity from growing up in an unstable environment, and mental illnesses such as PTSD and trauma.These problems exacerbate the child's risk of under-performing in both academic and personal settings.
Just as children who come from homeless families are at a higher risk of developing behavioral, mental, and physical health problems than their peers, their mothers are also at a higher risk especially in developing mental illnesses.There are many things that contribute to why homeless women are at a higher rate of developing a mental illness compared to the general population, but there has been a reoccurring three among studies focused on this issue. First, there is constant violence in the home that the woman and her children which feeds into the bigger issue of single female lead households being prone to homelessness. The second reason of leaving a violent home is the experience of sexual abuse, neglection, and/or death of main household provider. And thirdly, the reoccurring issue of mental illness or substance abuse. All these factors not only make women and their children more likely to become homeless, but also place homeless women at a higher risk of developing mental illnesses compared to women in the general population.
Many advocates for homeless people contend that a key difficulty is the social stigma surrounding homelessness. Many associate a lack of a permanent home with a lack of a proper bathroom and limited access to regular grooming. Thus, people that are homeless become "aesthetically unappealing" to the general public. Research shows that "physically attractive persons are judged more positively than physically unattractive individuals on various traits... reflecting social competence."
In addition to the physical component of stigmatization exists an association of homeless people with mental illness. Many people consider the mentally ill to be irresponsible and childlike and treat them with fear and exclusion, using their mental incapacitation as justification for why they should be left out of communities.
There is anecdotal evidence that many Americans complain about the presence of homeless people, blame them for their situation, and feel that their requests for money or support (usually via begging) are unjustified. In the 1990s, particularly, many observers and media articles spoke of "compassion fatigue" a belief that the public had grown weary of this seemingly intractable problem.
A common misconception persists that many individuals who panhandle are not actually homeless, but actually use pity and compassion to fund their lifestyles, making up to $20 an hour and living luxurious lives.This exception to the rule seems more prevalent due to media attention, but in reality, only a few cases exist.
Public opinion surveys show relatively little support for this view, however. A 1995 paper in the American Journal of Community Psychology concluded that "although the homeless are clearly stigmatized, there is little evidence to suggest that the public has lost compassion and is unwilling to support policies to help homeless people."A Penn State study in 2004 concluded that "familiarity breeds sympathy" and greater support for addressing the problem.
A 2007 survey conducted by Public Agenda, a nonprofit organization that helps leaders and their citizens navigate through complex social issues, found that 67 percent of New Yorkers agreed that most homeless people were without shelter because of "circumstances beyond their control," including high housing costs and lack of good and steady employment. More than one-third (36 percent) said they worried about becoming homeless themselves, with 15 percent saying they were "very worried." 90 percent of New Yorkers believed that everyone has a right to shelter, and 68 percent believed that the government is responsible for guaranteeing that right to its citizens. The survey found support for investments in prevention, rental assistance and permanent housing for homeless people.
Public Agenda has also concluded, however, that the public's sympathy has limits. In a 2002 national survey, the organization found 74 percent say the police should leave a homeless person alone if they are not bothering anyone. In contrast, 71 percent say the police should move homeless people if they are keeping customers away from a shopping area and 51 percent say homeless people should be moved if they are driving other people away from a public park.
Completely accurate and comprehensive statistics are difficult to acquire for any social study, but especially so when measuring the ambiguous hidden, and erratic reality of homelessness. All figures given are estimates. In addition, these estimates represent overall national averages; the proportions of specific homeless communities can vary substantially depending on local geography.
Perhaps the most accurate, comprehensive, and current data on homelessness in the United States is reported annually by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress (AHAR), released every year since 2007. The AHAR report relies on data from two sources: single-night, point-in-time counts of both sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations reported on the Continuum of Care applications to HUD; and counts of the sheltered homeless population over a full year provided by a sample of communities based on data in their Management Information Systems (HMIS).
Over the course of the year (October 2009 – September 2010), the 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report found that 1,593,150 individuals experienced homelessness Most were homeless temporarily. The chronically homeless population (those with repeated episodes or who have been homeless for long periods) decreased from 175,914 in 2005 to 123,833 in 2007. According to the 2017 AHAR (Annual Homeless Assessment Report) about 553,742 people experienced homelessness, which is a 1% increase from 2016.
According to the NCHWIH report:
According to the 2014 NCHWIH report:
According to the 2010 SAMHSA report, Among all sheltered individuals over the course of a year (October 2009-September 2010):Gender, Age, Race/Ethnicity
According to the 2014 NCHWIH report:
According to the 2010 SAMHSA report:
According to analyses of data from the 1996 NSHAPCxiv:
According to the 2010 SAMHSA report:
According to analyses of data from the 1996 NSHAPCxiv:
According to the 1996 Urban Institute findings of the National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers and Clients (UIHAC) report
According to the 1996 UIHAC report:
A 2010 longitudinal study of homeless men conducted in Birmingham, Alabama, found that most earned an average of ninety dollars per week while working an average of thirty hours per week
According to the 2010 SAMHSA report:
According to the 2010 SAMHSA report:Research on shelter use in New York City and Philadelphia concluded that
In New York City
Data from the 1996 NSHAPC show that about 50% of people who were homeless were experiencing their first or second episode of homelessness, which typically lasted a few weeks or months to one year.
According to the 2017 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report:
According to the 2017 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report:
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The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is a Cabinet department in the Executive branch of the United States federal government. Although its beginnings were in the House and Home Financing Agency, it was founded as a Cabinet department in 1965, as part of the "Great Society" program of President Lyndon Johnson, to develop and execute policies on housing and metropolises.
Alphonso R. Jackson served as the 13th United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). He was nominated by President George W. Bush on January 28, 2004 and confirmed by the Senate on March 31, 2004. Jackson announced his resignation on March 31, 2008.
Homelessness in Canada has grown in size and complexity by 1997. While historically known as a crisis only of urban centres such as Montreal, Laval, Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and Toronto the increasing incidence of homelessness in the suburbs is necessitating new services and resources.
Homeless shelters are a type of homeless service agency which provide temporary residence for homeless individuals and families. Shelters exist to provide residents with safety and protection from exposure to the weather while simultaneously reducing the environmental impact on the community. They are similar to, but distinguishable from, various types of emergency shelters, which are typically operated for specific circumstances and populations—fleeing natural disasters or abusive social circumstances. Extreme weather conditions create problems similar to disaster management scenarios, and are handled with warming centers, which typically operate for short durations during adverse weather.
Section 8 of the Housing Act of 1937, often called Section 8, as repeatedly amended, authorizes the payment of rental housing assistance to private landlords on behalf of approximately 4.8 million low-income households, as of 2008, in the United States. The largest part of the section is the Housing Choice Voucher program which pays a large portion of the rents and utilities of about 2.1 million households. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development manages Section 8 programs.
Supportive housing is a combination of housing and services intended as a cost-effective way to help people live more stable, productive lives, and is an active "community services and funding" stream across the United States. Supportive housing is widely believed to work well for those who face the most complex challenges—individuals and families confronted with homelessness and who also have very low incomes and/or serious, persistent issues that may include substance use disorders, mental health, HIV/AIDS, chronic illness, diverse disabilities or other serious challenges to stable housing. Supportive housing can be coupled with such social services as job training, life skills training, alcohol and substance use disorder treatment, community support services, and case management to populations in need of assistance. Supportive housing is intended to be a pragmatic solution that helps people have better lives while reducing, to the extent feasible, the overall cost of care. As community housing, supportive housing can be developed as mixed income, scattered site housing not only through the traditional route of low income and building complexes.
Women and families represent the fastest growing groups of the homeless population in the United States. Approximately 34% of the homeless population are families with children. Among homeless families, 67 percent are female-headed. Most homeless families in the United States are led by a young single mother without familial support and material resources.
Housing First is a relatively recent innovation in human service programs and social policy regarding treatment of people who are homeless and is an alternative to a system of emergency shelter/transitional housing progressions. Rather than moving homeless individuals through different "levels" of housing, whereby each level moves them closer to "independent housing", Housing First moves the homeless individual or household immediately from the streets or homeless shelters into their own accommodation.
Pathways to Housing is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1992 by Dr. Sam Tsemberis. It is the mission of Pathways to Housing to transform individual lives by ending homelessness and supporting recovery.
The Downtown Emergency Service Center (DESC) is a non-profit organization in Seattle, Washington providing services for that city's homeless population. The organization was founded to aid men and women living in a state of chronic homelessness who, due to their severe and persistent mental and addictive illnesses, were not being served by the existing shelters of the time. In the 1980s the center was funded by the city of Seattle through block-grant money, the county, which supports mental-health case manager positions, the United Way, churches, businesses and individual donors. 230 people sleep in the two open rooms.
Palisades Emergency Residence Corporation (PERC) founded 1981, is a not-for-profit social service agency located in Union City, New Jersey. The organization provides numerous programs and services with the aim to combat poverty and end the cycle of homelessness and hunger in Hudson County, New Jersey. In April 2012, the agency celebrated serving over one million meals. A survey conducted on one night, January 30, 2013, counted 947 homeless people, 198 of whom were children. Information extrapolated from the indicates about 1950 persons are homeless in the county during the course of the year.
Anti-homelessness legislation can take two forms; legislation that aims to help and re-house homeless people, and legislation that is intended to send the homeless to homeless shelters compulsively, or criminalize homelessness and begging.
Perhaps the most accurate and current data on homelessness in the United States is reported annually by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress (AHAR). The AHAR report relies on data from two sources: single-night, point-in-time counts of both sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations reported on the Continuum of Care applications to HUD; and counts of the sheltered homeless population over a full year provided by a sample of communities based on data in their local Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS).
Homelessness is a major issue in India. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights defines 'homeless' as those who do not live in a regular residence due to lack of adequate housing, safety, and availability. The United Nations Economic and Social Council Statement has a broader definition for homelessness; it defines homelessness as follows: ‘When we are talking about housing, we are not just talking about four walls and a roof. The right to adequate housing is about security of tenure, affordability, access to services and cultural adequacy. It is about protection from forced eviction and displacement, fighting homelessness, poverty and exclusion. India defines 'homeless' as those who do not live in Census houses, but rather stay on pavements, roadsides, railway platforms, staircases, temples, streets, in pipes, or other open spaces. There are 1.77 million homeless people in India, or 0.15% of the country's total population, according to the 2011 census consisting of single men, women, mothers, the elderly, and the disabled. However, it is argued that the numbers are far greater than accounted by the point in time method. For example, while the Census of 2011 counted 46,724 homeless individuals in Delhi, the Indo-Global Social Service Society counted them to be 88,410, and another organization called the Delhi Development Authority counted them to be 150,000. Furthermore, there is a high proportion of mentally ill and street children in the homeless population. There are 18 million street children in India, the largest number of any country in the world, with 11 million being urban. Finally, more than three million men and women are homeless in India's capital city of New Delhi; the same population in Canada would make up approximately 30 electoral districts. A family of four members has an average of five homeless generations in India.
Barbara Poppe is the founder and principal of Barbara Poppe & Associates LLC.
In a study in Western societies, homeless people have a higher prevalence of mental illness when compared to the general population. They also are more likely to suffer from alcoholism and drug dependency. It is estimated that 20–25% of homeless people, compared with 6% of the non-homeless, have severe mental illness. Others estimate that up to one-third of the homeless suffer from mental illness. Studies have found that there is a correlation between homelessness and incarceration. Those with mental illness or substance abuse problems were found to be incarcerated at a higher frequency than the general population. Fischer and Breakey have identified the chronically mentally ill as one of the four main subtypes of homeless persons; the others being the street people, chronic alcoholics, and the situationally distressed.
Homeless veterans are persons who have served in the armed forces who are homeless or living without access to secure and appropriate accommodation.
Homelessness in the United States exists in every state. Each state has different laws and other conditions which influence the number of homeless persons and what services are available to their homeless people.
In 2016, a report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) shows that the U.S. state of Oregon had an estimated homeless population of 13,238 with about 60.5% of these people still unsheltered. In 2017, these numbers were even higher. As of January 2017, Oregon has an estimated 13,953 individuals experiencing homelessness. Of this homeless population, 1,083 are family households, 1,251 are veterans, 1,462 are unaccompanied young adults, and 3,387 are individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.
In many cities, homeless persons are effectively criminalized for the situation in which they find themselves. Sleeping rough, sitting in public places, panhandling, public urination (in cities that provide almost zero public toilets) and myriad other offences have been devised to attack the ‘blight’ of homelessness.
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On the negative side, 60 percent also said that public inebriates, transients and vagrants affect their employees, clients and customers.
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