Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Homelessness Higher and Rising

Once someone's little baby girl, now she's a lonely statistic.

We have a homeless epidemic in America and the 1% is partying like the Roaring Twenties. But the Republicans want massive cuts to social programs and more tax beaks for the rich.

The number of people in poverty has increased to a record 46.2 million and the poverty rate of 15.1 percent is the highest on record since 1983. The poverty rate is defined as a single person living on less that $10,890 a year.

The Social Security Administration researchers reported earlier this month that half of America’s workers earned less than $26,364 last year (the vast majority of the 99%).

Both the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Office of Budget and Management (OMB) in their respective economic outlook reports have revised their forecasts to reflect the worsening economic conditions across the country. The expectation is that the country will continue to see poor economic conditions for years to come with, for example, the unemployment rate projected to hover near 9 percent until 2013 and then not reach pre-recession levels until 2016 or 2017.

The continued poor economic conditions likely means high levels of poverty and deep poverty will remain. In fact, the Brookings Institution projects poverty will continue to increase through 2012 and that the poverty rate will stay above 15 percent through 2014. The Brookings’ research predicts poverty will stay above pre-recession levels through 2020.

Deep poverty follows a similar trajectory, so it is predicted that the deep poverty rate will remain at levels not seen since before the current economic downturn.

The Homelessness Research Institute examined previous evidence of the relationship between unemployment and poverty, and the relationship between rates-of-deep-poverty and rates-of-homelessness. Based on this, it projects that increases in the number of people in deep poverty will result in a significant increase in homelessness.

Because of many new "broken windows" or "quality of life" ordinances springing up all around the country, it makes it very difficult for the homeless to loiter or to even look indigent in public spaces.

All over the country police have moved in on the tent cities of the homeless, from Seattle to Providence, in raids that often leave the former occupants without even their minimal possessions. What the homeless from all walks of life are now discovering is, that to be homeless in America is to live like a fugitive.

The Homelessness Research Institute projects the overall homeless population could increase by nearly 5 percent in the next three years. The baseline, 1.6 million people, is the number of people who were homeless from October 2009 through September 2010, as documented by The 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress (AHAR).

Based on this, the projected increase in homelessness over the next three years, due to the recession and continued economic downturn, is 5 percent. This would be the largest increase in homelessness since regular reporting on the size of the homeless population began in the 2007

There are other factors that support a concern that this projected 5 percent increase is a conservative estimate. First, it should be noted that homelessness is a lagging indicator, meaning it can take several months or years following a recession before homeless population increases are realized.

Second, this projection does not take into account the deep cuts to state and local government programs, and any future cuts to federal programs, that protect people against homelessness and help them when they are homeless. (The new super-committee will most likely be cutting social programs.)

Finally, the projection does not take into account the rising cost of housing, which is statistically linked to homelessness.

Allowing over a million people to become homeless every year has enormous economic, social, and human costs. The nation can learn from recent successful initiatives, and prevent the economic downturn and increasing poverty from creating a new class of homeless people. There is evidence of increases in homelessness emerging.


The Top 1% Mocks Homeless at Halloween Party

Why Homelessness Is Becoming an Occupy Wall Street Issue

The New Resentment of the Poor

Fewer Americans have access to basic necessities.

To Be A Homeless Man

To Be A Homeless Man (Part Two)

Throw Them Out With the Trash

1 comment:

  1. UPDATE: Dec. 27, 2015

    For years, many homeless people have spent the night in airports between when the last evening flight lands and the first morning flight departs. But in a number of cities across the country, officials are now cracking down on that unspoken arrangement. As the number of homeless people has climbed in major metropolitan areas like Washington DC and New York City, there’s anecdotal evidence that the ranks of people sleeping in airports has similarly grown. One individual, according to Bloomberg, has even lived in LaGuardia for 20 years.


    (* MY NOTE: If someone bought an open round-trip ticket to Anywhere, USA -- could they still be kicked out of an airport?)