10 Facts About Homelessness

Lack of Affordable Housing and High Rate of
Mental Illness Increased Federal Funding Needed

10 Facts About HomelessnessA recent Huffington Post blog post by Bill Quigley, “10 Facts About Homelessness” highlights key trends in homelessness” highlights what we do not know about our homeless neighbors and what we can and must do to end homelessness.

Bill Quigley, Law Professor, Loyola University New Orleans and Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) Associate Legal Director, writes:

  1. Over half a million people are homeless.
  2. One quarter of homeless people are children.
  3. Tens of thousands of veterans are homeless.
  4. Domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness among women.
  5. Many people are homeless because they cannot afford rent.
  6. There are fewer places for poor people to rent than before.
  7. In the last few years millions have lost their homes.
  8. The government does not help as much as you think.
  9. One in five homeless people suffer from untreated severe mental illness.
  10. Cities are increasingly making homelessness a crime.

A few of Quigley’s facts make the case for the critical need to restore funding for Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers and Ensure Funding for the National Housing Trust Fund.

Picking up on the “fewer places for poor people to rent”, Quigley writes,

“The U.S. needs at least 7 million more affordable apartments for low-income families, and as a result, millions of families spend more than half of their monthly income on rent.”

“There is enough public rental assistance to help about one out of every four extremely low-income households. Those who do not receive help are on multi-year waiting lists.”

The twenty percent of the homeless who “suffer from untreated severe mental illness” could benefit from increased funding for supportive housing and Housing First. Expanding cost-effective supportive housing could help end chronic homelessness.

“A University of Pennsylvania study tracking nearly 5,000 homeless people for two years discovered that investing in comprehensive health support and treatment of physical and mental illnesses is less costly than incarceration, shelter and hospital services for the untreated homeless.”

Writes Quigley.

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