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According to the United States Conference of Mayors, in 2008 the three most commonly cited causes of homelessness for persons and families were a lack of affordable housing, cited by 72 percent, poverty (52%), and unemployment (44%).The suggestions to alleviate homelessness included providing more housing for persons with disabilities (72%), creating more employment opportunities (68%), and building more assisted housing units (64%).

Over the past decades, the availability and quality of data on homelessness has improved considerably, due, in part, to initiatives by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and several nongovernmental organizations working with homeless populations. Since 2007, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued an Annual Homeless Assessment Report, which revealed the number of individuals and families that were homeless, both sheltered and unsheltered. It standardized the data collection processes and created more opportunities for government officials and service providers to remedy the problem of homelessness in the United States.

Homeless American.

2.2. Who are the Homeless?

According to the Stewart B. McKinney Act, 42 U.S.C. § 11301, et seq. (1994), a person is considered homeless if he or she "lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence and ... has a primary nighttime residency that is: (A) a supervised publicly or privately operated shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations... (B) an institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized, or (C) a public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings." Human Rights Watch (2010) identified emancipated teenagers in California as a new homeless population.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 5th Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress estimated that 1.56 million people, or one in every 200 Americans, experienced homelessness and found shelter between Oct. 1, 2008 and Sept. 30, 2009 (p. iii). On a single night in January 2009, 643,000 people were homeless. Nearly two-thirds stayed in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program and the other third were living on the street, in an abandoned building, or another place not meant for human habitation (p. 19). A typical sheltered homeless person is a single, middle-aged man and a member of a minority group. Of all those who sought emergency shelter or transitional housing during 2009, the following characteristics were observed:

• 78 percent of all sheltered homeless persons are adults.

• 61 percent are male.

• 62 percent are members of a minority group.

• 38 percent are 31-to-50 years old.

• 64 percent are in one-person households.

• 38 percent have a disability.

Date: 2015-02-03; view: 977

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