Lack of Affordable Housing Threatens Progress

The State of Homelessness in America 2015During a period of economic growth for the nation when unemployment decreased in nearly every state, the rate of homelessness fell by just 2.3% and the number of people at risk of homelessness has yet to return to pre-recession levels.

These findings are according to “The State of Homelessness in America 2015” report from the National Alliance to End Homelessness’ Research Institute.

The report examines national and state trends in homelessness, risk of homelessness, and the assistance that is available for people experiencing homelessness.

Though national data show that targeted funding for homeless programs is reducing homelessness, the number of low-income people living in doubled-up situations with family and friends is growing, and the number of poor renter households who must pay more than 50% of their income toward housing remains at a historic high, demonstrating that the affordable housing crisis is threatening progress.

Highlight of the report’s national findings include that:

  • Thirty-seven states showing declines in overall homelessness (homelessness increased in 23 states.)
  • The risk of homelessness is not declining despite the recovery from the recession. 7.7 million people were living with family and friends in 2013, an increase of 67% since 2007. There were 6.4 million poor households paying most of their income on housing in 2013, an increase of 25% since 2007.
  • The nation is in the midst of a shift toward Housing First interventions like permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing, with rapid re-housing capacity nearly doubling from 2012 to 2013 – from about 20,000 to 38,000 beds.
  • On a given night, about 154,000 more people were experiencing homelessness than there were beds available to assist them.

The report found that in New Jersey, homelessness declined 2.8%. But it also seems that the risk of homelessness is on the rise, with the percentage of New Jerseyans in poverty increasing almost 7% and households living doubled up increasing almost 105 from 2012 to 2013. New Jersey is housing the homeless through housing interventions that include permanent supportive housing and rapid re-housing with a significant increase in both types of housing beds from 2013-2014.

“Communities have worked hard to take advantage of the improvement in the economy, and we have reduced the number of people who experience homelessness. This is good news, but the increase in rents is outpacing what low income people earn, leaving a growing number of people at risk of homelessness in the future.”

Said Nan Roman, president and CEO of the Alliance

Click here to read the full report.

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