Blog

Here’s a Fast and Easy Way for You to Help End Homelessness

It’s that time of year again when members of Congress are circulating “Dear Colleague letters” to encourage their colleagues to support increased funding levels for programs that they care about.

As such, we’ve launched a Letter Writing Campaign to urge members of Congress sign on to letters in support of funding the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants program at the level the Obama Administration proposed for FY 2016: $2.480 billion. This funding level would accelerate our progress toward ending chronic, family, and youth homelessness by allowing us to provide an additional 25,500 units of permanent supportive housing and 15,000 rapid re-housing interventions.

On Hypothermia Nights: Helping People Experiencing Homelessness

Here in Washington, DC the cold temperatures and harsh weather during hypothermia season, which lasts from November through March, are dangerous for everyone, but they are perhaps most dangerous for those who are homeless. Just last year, the punishing winter resulted in nine known deaths of homeless individuals in DC.

This winter I volunteered with the Hypothermia Emergency Response Team, which is run by the Capitol Hill Group Ministry. Team volunteers are deployed on nights when the Department of Human Services issues a hypothermia alert in an effort to support the city’s efforts to provide emergency shelter on these frigid nights. Hypothermia alerts are issued when the temperature is forecasted to fall to 32 degrees Fahrenheit or below, including the wind chill factor.

Homelessness and Taxes: Tax Credits and The Affordable Care Act

It’s that time of year again when everyone must do their taxes. Of course, most people experiencing homelessness don’t file tax returns and wouldn’t suffer a penalty for not filing because they make little to no money.

Contrary to what many people believe, though, many homeless people are employed, at least part of the time. According to a 2002 national study by the Urban Institute, about 45 percent of homeless adults had worked in the past 30 days, only 14 percentage points lower than the employment rate for the general population at that time.

New HUD Report Shows Trends of Homelessness

If you ask provider of homeless services in your community what a “typical” homeless person in shelter looks like, they may give you an entirely different answer than a provider in my community would give me. Homelessness doesn’t look the same across the nation, across a state, or even across a community.

It’s true that homeless person is unique, which makes it difficult to understand what homelessness looks like in America, but here’s the catch: unless we understand the general demographic trends in homelessness, we cannot provide the most effective services to end their homelessness.

So how do we these trends of homelessness on a national scale? To address this challenging question, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) collects data from around the country throughout the year and synthesizes this information into two yearly reports called the Annual Homelessness Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress, Parts 1 and 2.

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