Lack of Affordable Housing Primary Cause of Homelessness

Increased Demand in Emergency Services
as Economic Recovery Lags

Lack of Affordable Housing Primary Cause of HomelessnessThe U.S. Conference of Mayors’ 33rd annual assessment of hunger and homelessness finds that the lack of affordable housing is reported as the chief cause of homelessness for both families with children and unaccompanied individuals. Overall homelessness in the cities surveyed has increased.

Findings around homelessness over the past year include:

  • The total number of homeless persons increased across the survey cities by an average of 1.6%
  • The number of families experiencing homelessness decreased across the survey cities by an average of 5.2%,
  • The number of unaccompanied individuals experiencing homelessness over the past year increased across the survey cities by an average of 1.7%

“This report reflects what we already know to be true. Cities and their partnering agencies, along with local charities and volunteers, have worked extraordinarily well together to respond to the needs of those who are hungry and homeless. Yet, despite their efforts, these challenges persist in an economy that, while on the mend, is still lagging. We want to underscore that even with exemplary local programs in place to help those in need, the effects of hunger and homelessness are still felt by many families across the nation. Our federal policies must respond to the growing pressure that the national economy has placed on many localities.”

Said Santa Clara, CA Mayor Helene Schneider.

“Every year, we report on these challenges and, every year, we reiterate the need for more services and greater capacity to help growing numbers of families in need. This year is no different.”

Said U.S. Conference of Mayors’ CEO and Executive Director Tom Cochran.

Officials in 50% of the cities expect the number of homeless families to increase moderately next year, while officials in 38% of the cities expect the number of unaccompanied individuals to increase moderately next year. Regarding resources to help the homeless, officials in 60% of the cities believe resources will stay at about the same level over the next year.

“Mayors in cities across the country are doing all they can to provide resources for those in need, but until our economy improves for all Americans, programs to combat poverty, hunger, and homelessness will become critical essentials for more and more people. We clearly need a broader policy response from Congress and our federal elected officials to address these issues.”

Said Schneider.

Click here for the press release.

Click here for the full report.