Why fewer Americans are now homeless
The country has witnessed a surprising 17% decline from 2005, thanks to effective federal programs -- which are now threatened.
Even as many Americans continue to struggle amid a tepid economic recovery, there's one piece of good news about some of the country's poorest citizens. That's the startling decline in homelessness during the past decade.
The number of homeless Americans fell to about 634,000 individuals last year, or a 17% drop from roughly 763,000 in 2005, according to a study from the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
The decline may be even more striking given the negative trends crimping Americans' pocketbooks. The unemployment rate stands at 7.4%, still well above the 5% rate enjoyed during the summer of 2005.
What's the reason for the decline in homelessness? It started with President George W. Bush's "housing first" program, which addressed the problem by aiming to provide shelter to the homeless before dealing other issues, such as substance abuse, The Atlantic notes.
Then the stimulus package in 2009 passed right after Barack Obama took office dedicated a $1.5 billion program geared to solving the problem, and the Obama administration in 2010 announced a 10-year federal plan to eradicate the issue, The Atlantic adds.
But clouds may be gathering. Sequestration has led to cuts in the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which will affect more than 100,000 homeless and formerly homeless people, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
It's possible that the hard-won gains against homelessness might be lost because the spending reductions will require some of beneficiaries to be moved from housing or shelter programs, the group notes.
At the same time, some communities are expressing greater intolerance toward the homeless. Witness Columbia, S.C. That town has approved a plan to sweep homeless people out of sight by giving them a choice: either go to jail, or to a shelter on the edge of town.
But Columbia isn't an outlier, given that more cities are enacting ordinances to criminalize homelessness. Between 2009 to 2011, laws against camping in public spaces increased by 7%, according to the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty.
But as some homeless advocates point out, criminalizing the problem may only make it harder for those people to get a foothold in the economy -- and lead to another cycle of homelessness.
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
The only reason there are fewer homeless is because their relatives have taken alot of them in cause they don't want them on the streets.
There are now 2, 3, even 4 generations of families squeezing into tiny houses to prevent being
homeless. These statistics never show up on these polls.....wonder why?
I'm sick of the whole mess. We REALLY need to take back this country.
I remember going into the homeless shelter in Pontiac. over 90 able bodied males. we offered 12 an hour cash, we'd pick them up and drop them off and feed them lunch. 3 said they'd take the job, 1 showed up and he wanted his pay an hour before lunch and quit.
Solving the homeless issue has always been a complex problem. Drug use, prior incarceration and mental illness (PTSD vets), have prevented them from employment and having a place to live in on a regular basis.
Very few people choose to be homeless. It's a hard life filled with hunger, disease and discomfort.
Having a program in place to keep them safe is often better than letting the police and legal system handle them. Jail space costs money too at the rate of over $40,000 a year per inmate.
So where do you want to spend your tax money?
This article was summed up perfectly by Mark Twain:
"There are three kinds of lies--- Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics."
NOT a Obama fan but he gives the money away that is one reason and maybe they are getting JOBS
I hope they are. get tired of all the bums asking for money every day I walk out the door
This article is so riddled with lies and half-truths it's unbelieveable.
1. Families are banding together.
2. Social programs are actually working.
3. They are becoming CRACKERS!
Personally, I believe it's #1.
Listen, anyone that believes being homeless, is not by choice, is wacko!
Yes some have had bad experiences, and bad luck, with "happenings"
but for the most part, they made bad choices...it's that simple.....you tell me,
as a young person, having a rough , life, no or little education, GO MILITARY,
keep your nose clean, retire...How hard is that?
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