[Hpn] Washington, DC - Demand for Emergency Shelter Unprecedented - National Coalition for the Homeless - December 21, 2002

Editor Editor <hccjr@bellsouth.net>
Sun, 22 Dec 2002 20:03:20 -0600

Demand for Emergency Shelter Unprecedented

HUD Emergency Grants Fall Short of Need
By Donald Whitehead - National Coalition for the Homeless - December 21, 2002

The National Coalition for the Homeless [NCH] recognizes the
critical role that HUD Homeless Assistance Programs play in
meeting the emergency shelter, housing, and service needs of
people experiencing homelessness throughout the nation.

Toward this end, we are pleased with HUD and the Bush
Administration's announcement Wednesday that $1 billion in grants
will be awarded to more than 3,000 individual projects.

However, the current funding level for HUD homeless assistance
programs - frozen at their 1995 level -- falls far short of the
amount necessary to meet critical needs.

This shortfall is especially alarming given the unprecedented
increase in the demand for emergency shelter: according to a
December 18, 2002 U.S. Conference of Mayors report, 37 percent of
the people seeking shelter were turned away for lack of room last
year, and the average length of homelessness increased in
eighty-two percent of cities surveyed.

Moreover, the impact of the current economic downturn is being
felt across the nation, with many communities reporting surges in
homelessness, particularly among families with children.

As the gap between wages, income, and the cost of housing --
already at an all-time high -- continues to grow, more people are
likely to experience homelessness and need emergency services.

While the HUD Homeless Assistance Grants are a necessary public
policy response to emergency needs, they are insufficient in and
of themselves to end and prevent homelessness.

NCH calls upon Congress and the Administration to enact public
policies to increase affordable housing, livable incomes, and
comprehensive health care for all Americans.

For more information, contact Donald Whitehead
at 202.737.6444, ext. 14, dwhitehead@nationalhomeless.org
source page:

 Homeless News Digest