On any given night, there are 800,000 people on the streets, with around 3.5 million people experiencing homelessness over the course of a year.
On any given night, there are 800,000 people on the streets, with around 3.5 million people experiencing homelessness over the course of a year. Unfortunately, our economy is now in a recession, and homelessness is again on the rise. In the 2009 Hunger and Homelessness Survey of the American Conference of Mayors, 19 out of 25 cities surveyed reported an increase in family homelessness in 2009.
Inherently connected to the problem of homelessness is the availability of safe and affordable housing. Lack of affordable housing is consistently ranked the most common cause of homelessness. According to the National Low-Income Housing Coalition, a worker must make $17.84 per hour to afford a modest two-bedroom rental unit – nearly twice the federal minimum wage. According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University, the number of households paying more than half their incomes for housing jumped from 13.8 million in 2001 to 17.9 million in 2007. Despite such numbers, federal programs that assist low-income people in finding suitable housing are insufficient to meet the demand.