USA New Homeless Surging: IUGM 1998 Survey of Homeless Services

Tom Boland (wgcp@earthlink.net)
Mon, 23 Nov 1998 18:27:30 -0400


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FWD  International Union of Gospel Missions
          http://www.iugm.org/

THE CHANGING FACE OF AMERICA'S HOMELESS: IUGM ISSUES TENTH ANNUAL SURVEY

No Longer Habitual Drifters, 61 Percent of Homeless Come to Streets Within
Last 12 Months

(Washington, D.C.) - The stereotype of America's homeless as long-term
drifters has become woefully out-of-date, according to a survey of 20,000
homeless people released today by the International Union of Gospel
Missions (IUGM), the association of Rescue missions.

In 1998, 61 percent of those interviewed said they had been homeless less
than a year - an 11 percentage point increase from 1989.  Seventy-two
percent of respondents come from within their communities, a 12 percentage
point increase from IUGM's original survey.

The results of this Tenth Annual "Snap Shot Survey" of the homeless provide
startling confirmation of a ten-year trend that has changed the face of
America's homeless in the 1990s.

"The face of America's homeless has changed during this decade," said Rev.
Stephen E. Burger, executive director of IUGM  "Thus, Rescue mission
programs are changing to deal with the new demands required of them.
Specifically, missions have developed or enhanced programs for women and
children to meet the needs of the ever-increasing number of single-parent
families on the streets."

The survey results back up Burger's claims.  One in five surveyed came to
the mission with family members and women with children made up 66 percent
of the families served in 1998, a 20 percentage point increase over 1989.
Those under the age of 18 comprise 12 percent of the survey total in 1998,
compared to eight percent ten years ago.

"The big question is the result of 'welfare reform' on homelessness," said
Burger.  "Twenty two percent of those surveyed say they have lost
government benefits in the past year -- mostly women with children. They've
lost AFDC benefits and Food Stamps."

While the number of children on the streets has risen in the past ten
years, the survey also points to growth in another age group, as clients
aged 36-45 have increased from 23 percent to 30 percent between 1989 and
1998.  There has been a corresponding drop among clients aged 18-25, from
17 percent to 10 percent.  "There is a group of people who are growing old
on the streets," stated Burger.  "The increase also may be a direct result
of discontinued SSI and Social Security disability checks for alcoholics
and drug addicts two years ago."

Half of those surveyed have not been employed in the past six months.  "A
person who has spent any amount of time on the streets does not look or
smell like anyone someone wants to hire," said Burger.  "They've lost their
dignity."  He said employment readiness and job training programs help
prepare homeless people for re-entry to the job market.

Rescue missions also provide some of the most innovative education and
rehabilitation programs available today.  "Nearly one-third of the people
interviewed are involved in a mission rehabilitation program," noted
Burger.  "They are taking account of their lives.  They are recognizing
their spiritual, emotional and physical needs, and they're moving from
addiction and dependency to self-directed living."

This year's survey was the largest in IUGM history.  More than 20,000
homeless men and women and children were surveyed in mid-October by 144
rescue missions.  By contrast, last year 134 missions surveyed 15,000 people.

Males accounted for 78 percent of those surveyed and females 22 percent.
Racially, the breakdown was: 42 percent African-American; 40 percent
Caucasian; 12 percent Hispanic; four percent Native American; and two
percent Asian.

IUGM member missions provide emergency food and shelter, youth and family
services, rehabilitation programs for the addicted, and assistance to the
elderly poor and at-risk youth.  Last year, IUGM Rescue missions served
more than 30 million meals, provided 12 million nights lodging, distributed
more than 24 million pieces of clothing and graduated more than 15,000
homeless men and women into productive living

Further information about the IUGM survey is available on the IUGM website
at www.iugm.org.

#  #  #  #
 International Union of Gospel Missions
Snap Shot Survey of the Homeless - 1989 to 1998

Males - 78%
Females - 22%

AGE
Under 18 -12%
18-25 - 10%
26-35 - 23%
36-45 - 30%
46-65- 21%
Over 65	 - 5%

RACE
Caucasian - 40%
African-American - 42%
Hispanic - 12%
Asian - 2%
Native American - 5%

FAMILIES SERVED
Couples  - 12%
Women with  Children - 66%
Men with Children - 7%
Couples with Children - 16%

OTHER ISSUES
Veterans - Male - 32%
Homeless less than one year - 61%
More than 6 mo. resident of city - 72%
Unemployed over 6 months - 52%
In drug/alcohol rehabilitation - Males - 32%
In drug/alcohol rehabilitation - Females - 25%
Prefer spiritual emphasis in programs - 79%
Lost Gov't Benefits in last 12 mos. - 22%

---
Michael Liimatta, Director of Education
International Union of Gospel Missions
1045 Swift, Kansas City, MO 64116 USA
Phone: 816.471.8020 FAX 816.471.3718
http://www.iugm.org/michael.html

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