shelter requests up 3% despite boom: US Conference of Mayors FWD

Tom Boland (
Sun, 24 May 1998 12:51:05 -0700 (PDT)
FWD  AllPolitics - Dec. 15, 1997
Mayors' Annual Survey of Hunger and Homelessness - U.S. Conference of Mayor.


WASHINGTON (AP) -- A 29-city survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors finds
that demands for emergency food and shelter are continuing to increase
despite the booming national economy and low unemployment.

One positive note struck in the study released today was that requests for
emergency housing rose this year by just 3 percent, the smallest increase
in the survey's 13-year history.

However, demand for emergency food rose an average of 16 percent, the
largest increase since 1992. Low wages and high housing costs were among
the factors cited for the surge in grocery requests. Nearly all the cities
expected demand for food and shelter to rise next year.

The study, based on self-reporting by the cities that varied widely in
detail, found:

Emergency food assistance requests increased in 24 of the 29 cities surveyed.

About one-fifth of emergency food requests were estimated to have gone
unfulfilled. Only Alexandria, Va., and Charlotte, N.C., reported that no
food assistance request went unanswered.

Seventeen of the cities saw shelter requests rise, while the number of
emergency shelter beds among all the cities decreased an average of 3

One city where officials said the housing situation improved was
Charleston, S.C. Officials there reported a 23 percent reduction in shelter
demand by single adults "due to good success in providing an array of
services in an accessible location ... to reduce the number of
revolving-door homeless
people in the Charleston area."

More common, however, are tales of reduced bed spaces and tougher
eligibility requirements.

"Admission criteria to emergency shelter has been tightened, and the word
is out that emergency shelter is not an option that a needy person can
depend on," St. Paul, Minn., officials reported. "So many do not ask."

Of the homeless population, about 47 percent are single men, 36 percent
families with children, 14 percent single women and 4 percent minors, the
survey found.

Other cities surveyed were: Boston; Chicago; Cleveland; Denver; Detroit,
Kansas City, Mo.; Los Angeles; Louisville, Ky.; Miami; Minneapolis;
Nashville, Tenn.; New Orleans; Norfolk, Va.; Philadelphia; Phoenix;
Portland, Ore.; Providence, R.I.; St. Louis; Salt Lake City; San Antonio;
San Diego; San Francisco; Santa Monica, Calif.; Seattle and Trenton, N.J.


ARCHIVES  <>  read posts to HPN
TO JOIN  <> or email Tom <>