Homelessness and Affordable Housing Shortages

  • Into the trees: Rural housing shortages push some into forests, parking lots, By Alden Woods, December 3, 2017, Arizona Republic: “This place provided nothing, so Doug Stewart tried to prepare for everything. He filled his Jeep with blankets for the cold and tents for the rain, ham-and-cheese sandwiches for the hungry and a full tank of gas to take people out of Gila County. Then he drove to Walmart. He rolled into the parking lot, past the people who held cardboard signs at each entrance, past a dozen people who slept in their cars every night. Even more people camped in the woods behind the store, and into the trees walked Stewart, 46, to find Theresa…”
  • Homeless population rises, driven by West Coast affordable-housing crisis, By Pam Fessler, December 6, 2017, National Public Radio: “Homelessness in the United States went up slightly this year for the first time since 2010. During a one-night count in January, 553,742 people were found living outside or in shelters across the country, a 0.7 percent increase from the year before, according to new data released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development on Wednesday…”
  • America’s homeless population rises for first time in years, By Christopher Weber and Geoff Mulvihill (AP), December 6, 2017, US News & World Report: “The nation’s homeless population increased this year for the first time since 2010, driven by a surge in the number of people living on the streets in Los Angeles and other West Coast cities…”

Rural Homelessness – California

California’s homelessness crisis moves to the country, By Kevin Fagan and Alison Graham, September 8, 2017, San Francisco Chronicle: “California housing costs are spiraling so high that they are pushing the state’s homelessness crisis into places it’s never been before — sparsely populated rural counties. A Chronicle analysis of biennial homeless counts taken early this year across California shows that the sharpest increases occurred not in San Francisco and other urban centers but in out-of-the-way places such as the thickly forested Sierra Nevada and the dusty flatlands and low hills of the northern Sacramento Valley…”

States and Rural Homelessness

States struggle with ‘hidden’ rural homelessness, By Teresa Wiltz, June 26, 2015, Stateline: “At the Micah Ecumenical Ministries, in the center of this quaint colonial town, Stella Dempsey sits in the waiting room, looking dejected. Ministry staffers offered her a bed at a shelter, but she says she can’t bear to go back. Still, she’s feeling desperate. She is homeless and jobless and sleeps in a tent in the woods. She’s got cirrhosis of the liver, high blood pressure, diabetes and a bad back. Two months ago, she said, she almost died. Now, she’s run out of all her medications, from her bipolar meds to her insulin. She is not eligible for Medicaid under Virginia law…”

Homelessness and Housing – Wisconsin, Utah

  • In western Wisconsin, homelessness moves out to the suburbs, By Andy Rathbun, October 1, 2011, Pioneer Press: “The Conde family never expected to be homeless. The family moved from western Wisconsin to Oregon in June 2009 with hopes that Robert Conde could find more jobs painting and drywalling. The work wasn’t there, and to add to the family’s hardships, he was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. It wasn’t long before they packed their belongings and made a cold January drive back to Wisconsin. ‘Within a month’s time, it was like everything was crashing down on us,’ said Shana Conde, Robert’s wife. ‘We got back with nothing. We had no money, and our vehicles were falling apart.’ The couple and their three young children entered Grace Place, an emergency shelter in Somerset, Wis., where they stayed for five months before spending nearly a year in transitional housing. In western Wisconsin’s Pierce, Polk and St. Croix counties, the number of people staying in emergency shelters has risen 56 percent in four years, according to the Wisconsin Division of Housing, which began formally collecting the data in 2007…”
  • Initiative to end chronic homelessness in Utah successful, By Marjorie Cortez, September 29, 2011, Deseret News: “The success of a 10-year initiative to end chronic homelessness could mean the eventual closure of the emergency overflow shelter in Midvale. Last winter, there were excess beds available each night in The Road Home’s downtown emergency shelter, which officials attribute to the success of rapid rehousing programs that place homeless families and individuals into permanent supportive housing. Once they settle into housing, they can begin work on the issues that have contributed to their homelessness. There have been as many as 100 open beds on some nights. Chronic homelessness in Utah has fallen 69 percent since 2006. Since 2010, the number of people considered ‘chronic homeless’ – people who have experienced homelessness once within the past year or have had three episodes of homelessness in four years – has dropped 26 percent, according to the 2011 Comprehensive Report on Homelessness released Wednesday…”

Rural Homelessness – Minnesota

Five shelters for homeless to open in rural parts of state, By Madeline Baran, August 9, 2011, Minnesota Public Radio: “Five new homeless shelters will open in rural Minnesota this year as part of a broader effort to shift some state and federal money away from programs in the Twin Cities. The state’s Department of Human Services awarded grants to open shelters in Cass Lake, Pine County, Mankato, Faribault and Marshall, agency officials said Wednesday. At the same time, the agency cut grants to several Twin Cities-based programs, including a drop-in center for homeless adults in St. Paul and a free voicemail service for low-income adults. Advocates for the homeless said shelters are urgently needed in rural areas, but they said the government should spend more to avoid cuts to urban programs…”

HUD Report on Homelessness in the US

  • Homelessness in L.A. County falls 3%, survey finds, By Rong-Gong Lin II and Alexandra Zavis, June 15, 2011, Los Angeles Times: “Homelessness on any given day in Los Angeles County has decreased about 3% in the last two years despite the lingering effects of the recession, according to a new survey released Tuesday. But the number of homeless veterans, including younger men and women, grew. The study, conducted by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority in January, put the homeless figure at 51,430 in L.A. County, including 23,359 in the city of Los Angeles, which saw a 9% decrease…”
  • City’s family shelters are filling up faster, sooner this season, By Jennifer Lin, June 15, 2011, Philadelphia Inquirer: “For four days, Yasmeen Goodmond, 23, went to the city’s homeless-services office, asking for help. And for four days, she was told there were no beds for her family. With nowhere to go, Goodmond and her two children went to the emergency room at Hahnemann University Hospital. They slept in chairs in the waiting room and slipped out in the morning. But their welcome was wearing out. On Monday night, Goodmond asked her cousin to watch her 5-year-old daughter for a few days, while turning to her grandmother for help with her 2-year-old son. For herself, she stayed on the streets, walking all over Center City, never sleeping…”
  • US homeless population up slightly, as ranks grow outside cities, By Tony Pugh, June 14, 2011, Kansas City Star: “Despite high unemployment and a stalled economy, the nation’s homeless population grew only slightly in 2010 as stimulus-funded initiatives helped to take or keep nearly 700,000 people off the streets, according to a federal report released Tuesday. While once a predominantly urban problem largely of individuals without families, homelessness, like poverty, has increasingly migrated to suburban and rural areas where more non-Hispanic white families are being affected. In fact, the number of homeless people in households with at least one adult and one child has increased 20 percent since 2007, and families make up a larger share of those in emergency housing than ever before…”
  • HUD reports 57 percent increase in rural, suburban Americans using shelters in recent years, Associated Press, June 14, 2011, Washington Post: “As the recession gripped America, thousands more people in rural and suburban areas turned to homeless shelters for help. The number of people using shelters or transitional housing in suburban and rural areas increased 57 percent from 2007 to 2010, with more than 500,000 people from smaller communities seeking help in 2010, according to a report by the Housing and Urban Development Department. During the same time there was a decrease in the use of shelters in urban areas…”

Report: Homelessness in the U.S.

  • Homeless numbers include more families, By Kevin Freking (AP), July 9, 2009, San Diego Union-Tribune: “The face of homelessness in the United States is changing to include more families and more people who live in the suburbs and rural communities.  The number of homeless has remained steady since 2007, but within the overall count are trends that can tell officials where federal resources would do the most good, the Housing and Urban Development Department says in its annual report to Congress being released Thursday…”
  • Homelessness in suburbs, rural areas increases, By Wendy Koch, July 9, 2009, USA Today: “As the recession took hold last year, homelessness shifted toward rural and suburban areas and gripped a growing number of families, the U.S. government reports today…”
  • Stimulus money targeted to help the homeless, By Evelyn Nieves (AP), July 8, 2009, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette: “The U.S. expects to send $1.5 billion in stimulus money Thursday to hundreds of communities around the country to prevent homelessness, including $1 million for Fresno to dismantle tent cities and move residents into privately owned apartments…”

Report: Homelessness in Australia

  • Homelessness surges as rents soars, By Stephen Lunn, July 9, 2009, The Australian: “More families are being squeezed into homelessness by the high costs of private rental, but better support services have led to fewer teenagers on the streets.  A new report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare into Australia’s homeless finds numbers were on the march in Australia even before the global financial crisis hit home…”
  • More sleeping rough in capitals, July 9, 2009, News.com.au: “The number of people sleeping rough on the streets of capital cities was on the rise before the financial crisis hit, a new report shows.  The number of homeless older Australians has also been increasing, new analysis by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) shows…”
  • Govt pours money into help for homeless, By Susanna Dunkerley, July 7, 2009, Brisbane Times: “The Rudd government has poured millions of dollars into its plan to combat homelessness, amid criticism from the sector it had put it on the backburner.  The ambitious $800 million state and federal plan to halve homeless rates by 2020 was due to get off the ground last week…”