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What About the Homeless? Reflections on Homelessness in America

     
March 3, 2014  |  Community Involvement
What About the Homeless? Reflections on Homelessness in America

Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz only needed to click her heels three times and repeat, “there’s no place like home” for her to be back home in an instant, waking up to be reunited with her loving family.

In reality, a homeless girl wouldn’t have anything to call her home just like that. She would have to battle the risks of being out on the streets in order to survive. Happy endings don’t happen with a click of one’s heels and a chant of “there’s no place like home.” Happy endings for homeless boys and girls might be a long sight, a glimmer at the end of a long rainbow where happy endings only happen when there is help from federal agencies, awareness of their plight, and support of organizations or people who fight against youth homelessness in their community.

A government study led by the Department of Housing and Urban Development found that the number of homeless people in the U.S. declined from 2012 to 2013 in spite of the increase in some states, particularly in New York, California, and the District of Columbia. Overall decrease is nearly four percent (4%).

The State of Colorado along with Florida, Texas, Georgia, and Washington has the most significant decrease in the homeless population since 2012. Colorado is second to Florida (7,308) with 7,014 successful homelessness cases resolved.

Many non-profit organizations aimed at helping the homeless deserve as much credit in eradicating the growing rate of homeless people as with the efforts planned by the federal agencies with their state and local programs. The federal funding sources may not have changed considerably to address this concern, but local communities have been working hard to allocate resources and to implement strategies to improve homelessness, such as supportive housing for chronically homeless people, programs to help them improve their lives and get them off the streets, immediate re-housing for families, charitable activities mainly through donations and fundraising events to provide for their needs, counselling, and even awareness programs for the rest of the community.

Still, thirty five percent (35%) of homeless people live in spots, such as abandoned buildings and cars and this percentage include children and almost 25% of the homeless in America are under 18 years old. This alarming rate of youth and children living on the streets is a clear indication of the gravity of homelessness in the country.

Here are some highlights from the 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development:

Homelessness in the U.S. declined by 4 percent from 2012 to 2013, from 633,782 to 610,040;

Unsheltered homelessness (people living in places not meant for human habitation) has decreased 23 percent since 2007 and 11.6 percent from 2012 to 2013;

Family homelessness decreased 7.2 percent 2012 to 2013; and

Chronic homelessness and veteran homelessness both continued steady multi-year decreases, declining 7.3 percent and 7.6 percent respectively from 2012 to 2013.

There is a silver lining after all. But reality speaks louder than fantasy…for now. Homelessness is still here and as housing continues to increase and income continues to be inversely proportional to it decreasing in big chunks, and affordable housing becoming more of a scarcity, there is still a lot more work to be done before any of us can square our shoulders and say, “mission accomplished.”

A spark of hope however, with these positive reports of significant decreases in homelessness ensures us that we are headed in the right direction. Homelessness can be ended. It’s not a hopeless case but a huge possibility.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About the author

The Blake Team is a full-service Real Estate team based in Aurora, Colorado specializing in working with Buyers & Sellers, foreclosures/HUD, short sales, and luxury properties. A team with years of experience and an impressive success rate that made it the No.18 real estate brokerage in the nation, as well as the No.1 Keller Williams agent in Colorado led by CEO & Founder Lisa Blake. The Blake Team is your No. 1 choice for getting your dream home!