2015 Hunger and Homelessness Survey

Source: U.S. Conference of Mayors, December 2015

From the press release:
The 33rd annual assessment of hunger and homelessness, conducted by The U.S. Conference of Mayors and released today in Washington, D.C., shows low wages leads the list of causes of hunger cited by officials in the cities surveyed, and lack of affordable housing is seen as the chief cause of homelessness for both families with children and unaccompanied individuals….. Sixty-six percent of the survey cities reported that the number of requests for emergency food assistance increased over the past year. Among people requesting emergency food assistance, 67 percent were persons in families, 42 percent were employed, 23 percent were elderly, and 10 percent were homeless. Low-wages led the list of causes of hunger cited by the survey cities, followed by poverty, and high housing costs. City officials said that more jobs with higher wages, including a living wage, as well as more affordable housing are actions that should be taken to reduce hunger. Access to preventive health and an increase in SNAP benefits are other important actions to take to reduce hunger…. Over the past year, the total number of homeless persons increased across the survey cities by an average of 1.6 percent, with 58 percent of the survey cities reporting an increase, and 42 percent reporting a decrease. The number of families experiencing homelessness decreased across the survey cities by an average of 5.2 percent, with 53 percent of the cities reporting a decrease, 42 percent reporting an increase, and 5 percent said it was the same. The number of unaccompanied individuals experiencing homelessness over the past year increased across the survey cities by an average of 1.7 percent, with 43 percent of the cities reporting a decrease, 43 percent reporting an increase, and 13 percent saying the number stayed the same. City officials identified lack of affordable housing as the leading cause of homelessness among families with children. This was followed by poverty, unemployment and low-paying jobs. City officials also identified lack of affordable housing is the leading cause of homelessness among unaccompanied individuals. This was followed by poverty, mental health and the lack of needed services, and substance abuse and the lack of needed services……
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