HUD Issues 2010 Homelessness Assessment Report
Despite the severe economic downturn,rnpersistent unemployment, and thousands of foreclosures, Secretary of Housingrnand Urban Development (HUD) Shaun Donovan announced that the number of homelessrnpeople in the U.S. held relatively steady between 2009 and 2010. While overall numbers were up slightly, thernnumbers of chronically homeless decreased 1 percent, from 110,917 torn109,920. This and other data onrnhomelessness are contained in the 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report tornCongress (AHAR) released by HUD on Tuesday.</p
Atrna press conference attending the release, Donovan stated “It’s clear that had it not been for President Obama’srnRecovery Act, many hundreds of thousands of persons may have fallen intornhomelessness or remained there. Duringrnthe height of our nation’s economic hardship, we’ve managed to stabilize andrneven prevent homelessness as we work to find permanent housing solutions forrnthe most vulnerable among us.”</p
Data on the numbers of homeless arerncollected through a count of the numbers of persons who are in shelters orrn”unsheltered” on a single night in February and a 12 month count of persons whornaccess a shelter over the course of a full year. Data was collected from over 4,700 cities andrncounties during 2010. </p
The “snapshot” survey found thernnumbers of persons homeless on that single night increased by 1.1 percent overrnthe 2009 count to 649,879. This includedrn29,344 family households and 241,621 persons in families, both slight (1.6rnpercent or less) increases year-over-year. rnThree states, California, New York, and Florida accounted for 40 percentrnof the homeless on this night. </p
The 12 month count found that 1.6rnmillion persons experienced homelessness and found shelter in a one year periodrnending September 30, 2010, a 2.2 percent increase over 2009. </p
Single homeless individuals tend tornbe white men over the age of 30 with a disabling condition, while adults inrnfamilies are more likely to be younger African-American women without arnreported disability. Of all those who sought emergency shelter or transitionalrnhousing during 2010, the following characteristics were observed: </p<ul type="disc"
Donovan highlighted two programsrnthat have helped stabilized the homeless population. The Homelessness Prevention and RapidrnRe-housing Program served 690,000 people during its first year of operationrnincluding 531,000 individuals who were prevented from becoming homeless in thernfirst place. The remaining 159,000rnreceived “rapid re-housing” assistance to move from the streets or sheltersrninto permanent housing. Fifty-ninernpercent of HPRP participants received assistance for two months or less withrnthose receiving homelessness prevention assistance requiring a slightly longerrnparticipation than those receiving rapid re-housing assistance.</p
The second program is the PermanentrnSupportive Housing Program (PSH) which combines shelter solutions with otherrnservices such as health care, employment, or addiction treatment. PSHrnbeds are now the largest part of the nation’s homeless housing inventory withrn236,798 beds 23 percent of which are specifically targeted for the chronicallyrnhomeless. Nearly 295,000 peoplernused PSH at some point between October 2009 and September 2010. Compared to thernsheltered homeless population, PSH tenants are more likely to be female, partrnof a family, living in an urban area, and African-American. Adult PSH tenantsrnare also more than twice as likely as adults in shelters to have a disablingrncondition (79 percent versus 37 percent.)</p
Donovan said that there are tworntrends that are notable in the new survey. rnThe first is a continued decline in the chronically homeless. The numbers of this group have declined 11rnpercent in three years largely due to a focus on the problem among localrngroups. At the same time there has beenrnan increase among families and in rural and suburban areas. Donovan said one reason for the rise in the ruralrnhomelessness is the number of military personal who come from rural areas andrnreturn there and experience homelessness. rnVeterans, he said, are 50 percent more likely to become homeless thanrnthe general population. A separaternassessment on veterans’ homelessness will be issued in the next few months.</p
The Secretary said the increase inrnhomeless families is not surprising given the economy and the history ofrnhomeless programs where local efforts have been targeted at chronicrnhomelessness so those tools are further advanced. The local areas are not as far along dealingrnwith families but are catching up. </p
Barbara Poppe, chairperson of thernInteragency Council on Homelessness pointed out that family homelessness isrnmore complex because it requires a higher level of interagency cooperation tornaddress supportive services such as child care, child health, and education. </p
The report says the long-termrnimpacts of the recession are unclear. A recent study found a nearly five-foldrnincrease in the rate of housing overcrowding, suggesting that many families arerndoubling up in response to the economic downturn. If some of thesernfamily support networks already are struggling to make ends meet, some of therndoubled-up families may find their way into the homeless residential servicernsystem during 2010. </p
HUD will use the findings from thern2010 AHAR to continue to work to end all homelessness through the ObamarnAdministration’s initiative OpeningrnDoors, a federal strategy to end veteran and chronic homelessness by 2015,rnand to end homelessness among children, families, and youth by 2020.
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