What is Homelessness?
FURTHERING OUR UNDERSTANDING OF HOMELESSNESS HELPS US TO INVEST IN OUR COMMUNITY BY JOINING IN LEADING ALL PEOPLE TO THE RIGHT TYPE OF LEVEL AND SUPPORT NEEDED TO MOVE THESE INDIVIDUALS INTO A BETTER LIFE. PLEASE SEE THE ARTICLES BELOW AND LATEST PUBLICATIONS ON WHAT THE REALITIES OF HOMELESSNESS ARE.
Being homeless is not easy or comfortable. This myth allows us to ignore the desperate people living in tents or in cars without water, heat or sanitation. Some people who are homeless choose to sleep outside rather than in shelters because they are fearful of having to leave pets and belongings outside. In addition, many shelters and homeless housing programs have stringent eligibility criteria and rules that ‘screen out’ the most vulnerable people. (Source: http://bit.ly/29hRYvQ) The “Choice” to remain on the street is a dangerous one. 700 people died in the U.S. from exposure in 2009. Remaining on the streets also puts homeless people at risk of violence, including murder, assault, rape, and theft. Homeless people are often the victims of hate crimes. 1,500 reported attacks occurred nationwide on homeless people in the past 15 years with 375 ending in death. 91 people died while homeless in King County in 2015. (Source: http://bit.ly/29fPg9R)
This report furthers our understanding of homelessness in our country by looking at the number of people experiencing homelessness at a point-in-time nationally, by state and Continuum of Care, and providing information about their characteristics.
Chronically Homeless Individual refers to an individual with a disability who has been continuously homeless for one year or more or has experienced at least four episodes of homelessness in the last three years where the combined length of time homeless on those occasions is at least 12 months.
Continuums of Care (CoC) are local planning bodies responsible for coordinating the full range of homelessness services in a geographic area, which may cover a city, county, metropolitan area, or an entire state.
According to the National Coalition for the Homeless, the leading causes of homelessness include lack of affordable housing, poverty (influenced by the lack of employment opportunities and the decline in public assistance), lack of affordable health care, domestic violence, mental illness and addiction.
In 2009, the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act was signed into law. This act reauthorized the McKenney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act with significant amendments, including consolidating HUD’s competitive grant programs, creating a Rural Housing Stability Assistance Program, changing HUD’s definition of homelessness and chronic homelessness and increasing resources for prevention.6 In 2010, the Obama administration released Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness.7