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Saturday, March 25, 2006

Families are the Fastest Growing Group in the US Homeless Population

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Published Dec 5, 2005 by Terri Rimmer
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Did you know?
Homeless women have to deal with being victimized in shelters by some male residents.
· 81 percent of single homeless people enter and exit shelters quickly.
· The Salvation Army allows for a three-night stay.
· Between 700,000 and 800,000 people are homeless on any given night.
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Between 700,000 and 800,000 people are homeless on any given night. People like Roger and David who when they moved to Dallas thought it would be a haven. Most families become homeless because they are having a housing crisis.
About half of the families experiencing homelessness over the course of a year live in family units and about 38 percent of those homeless within that year are children like the gay youth who represent who represent 20 to 40 percent of homeless youth.

Homeless people report that their major needs are help finding a job, housing, and financial help for the rent such as the couple who lived in their car for about a month getting food from a local pantry and making sandwiches in the car and collecting non-perishables. Twenty percent of the homeless report that they get help finding housing.

In 2002 three days before Christmas Roger and Dave were on a two to three-week waiting list to get into the Samaritan House, a residential facility for those with HIV or AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). In cases in which a family is fleeing a domestic violence, alcohol, or drug abuse situation a period of transitional housing is often needed.

James, who spoke on conditions of anonymity, couldn't get back into the apartment where he lived with his boyfriend and had to leave because of domestic violence. The boyfriend was missing and the landlord wouldn't let James back in the apartment until he paid damages owed by the boyfriend which James did not have. James only got to stay with a friend for a few days. He left for his friend's with the clothes on his back.

According to the National Alliance To End Homelessness, 81 percent of single homeless people enter and exit shelters quickly. The Salvation Army allows for a free, three-night stay. About half of the people experiencing homelessness are single adults like Sonya, a drug addict. The National Alliance To End Homeless, recommends, among other strategies, that every city have a safe haven for the homeless to go and that the town has in place facilities to put people leaving public institutions, while continually making sure everyone is receiving needed care.

Faster housing services placing homeless people in a more timely fashion is also needed rather than having people being forced to wait on long waiting lists. The Alliance also recommends that more services be mainstreamed and consolidated to better meet the needs of the homeless. Faster job placements are also needed with an ability to secure enough income to afford rent, according to The Ten Essentials of a Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness drawn up by the Alliance a long time ago.


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