Lack of Affordable Housing
Chief Cause of Homelessness
In its annual assessment, the U.S. Conference of Mayors found increased demand this year for emergency food and housing across 25 cities whose mayors are members of the Conference’s Task Force on Hunger and Homelessness.
Trenton, New Jersey was one of the 25 cities surveyed and Mayor Eric E. Jackson is a task force member.
Low wages led the list of causes of hunger citied by officials in the cities surveyed, and lack of affordable housing was seen as the chief cause of homelessness for both families with children and unaccompanied individuals.
“We have seen some extraordinary efforts by cities, private agencies, foundations, charities, and volunteers to cope with hunger and homelessness. But despite all efforts, the problems remain, as do our concerns about the future.”
Said Santa Barbara Mayor Helene Schneider, Task Force Co-Chair.
Findings on Homelessness:
- Overall, the total number of homeless persons increased across the survey cities by 1%.
- The number of families experiencing homelessness increased by an average of 3%.
- The number of unaccompanied individuals experiencing homelessness over the past year decreased by an average of just under 1%.
- For families with children, the single leading cause of homelessness cited by city officials was lack of affordable housing, followed by unemployment, poverty, and low-paying jobs.
Trenton reported success in targeting resources towards ending veterans homelessness. Utilizing its Homelessness Management Information Services (HMIS), the city identifies veterans and provides services such as permanent supportive housing and Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSV) services.
The report also highlighted the success of the Rescue Mission of Trenton’s Perry Street Permanent Supportive Housing. Fifteen individuals who were previously homeless and who have taken affirmative steps to remake and reshape their lives received the keys to their new studio apartments when they opened in September 2013.
- Officials in 39% of the cities expect a moderate increase in the number of homeless families next year and those in 30% expect the number to continue at about the same level.
- The population of homeless unaccompanied individuals is expected to decrease moderately next year in 43% of the cities, and a moderate increase is expected in 30% of the cities.
“ … Unitl our economy improves for all Americans, programs to combat poverty, hunger, and homelessness need to be protected – not compromised, not sacrificed – by our Congress.”
Click here for the report (page 73 includes a profile of Trenton.)
Click here for the audio of the press conference releasing the report.