Transcript of "The Association Between Social and Economic Factors and Homelessness and Housing Instability: Evidence from the United States"
Frayed Safety Nets and Fractured Support NetworksA U.S. Perspective on the Link between Family Homelessness and Poverty Ralph da Costa Nuñez, Ph.D. Institute for Children & Poverty New York CityFEANTSA European Observatory on Homelessness European Research Conference September 2009
Institute for Children and Poverty An independent non-profit research organization based in New York City. Studies the impact of poverty on family and child well-being. Generates research to enhance public policies and program affecting poor and homeless children and their families. Particular focus on extreme poverty in the U.S. and its effect on housing, educational attainment, employment, child welfare, domestic violence, and family wellness. http://www.icpny.org 2Institute for Children and Poverty
Family Homelessness in the U.S. In 2008, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) reported that at least 249,000 parents and children experienced homelessness. Every year an estimated 1.3 million children, from 600,000 families experience some type of homelessness. On a typical day in New York City: Between 120 and 150 new families enter the shelter system. Over 9,600 families comprising 14,000 adults and over 15,000 children are homeless every night. 3Institute for Children and Poverty
Family Homelessness in the U.S. (cont.) Homeless families with children are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population. In 2008, 16 out of 22 large cities surveyed reported an increase in the number of homeless families during the last year, citing the recession among the top reasons for this increase. 20 percent of all school districts reported that more homeless children enrolled during the fall of 2008 than over the entire 2007- 2008 school year. 4Institute for Children and Poverty
Poverty and the Current Recession In 2007, a family of four would have to have an income of less than $20,650 per year to be counted in the U.S. poverty statistics. 7.6 million U.S. families lived in poverty (9.8%) 13.3 million U.S. children lived in poverty (18%) 44% of poor children lived in deep poverty (families with incomes at or below 50% or poverty level) 5Institute for Children and Poverty
Poverty and the Current Recession (cont.) In June 2009, the U.S. unemployment rate reached 9.5%, the highest rate in 26 years. It is expected to exceed 10% by 2010. If the poverty rate responds to changes in unemployment rates as in past recessions, the number of: Individuals living in poverty could increase by 8 to 12 million for a total of 45 to 49 million people. Children living in poverty could increase by 3 to 4 million for a total of 16 to 17 million children. 6Institute for Children and Poverty
ICP Homeless Family Study The Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS) is a national representative sample of approximately 5,000 births in 20 large U.S. cities between 1998 and 2000. FFCWS interviewed mothers at the focal child’s birth and again when child is one, three, and five years old. ICP is studying a subgroup of FFCWS families who live in poverty to examine their prevalence of homelessness and the link to residential stability, dependence on public assistance, and the strength of their financial safety nets and support networks. 7Institute for Children and Poverty
Characteristics of Poor Families Characteristics: All Poor Ever Never Homeless Homeless Demographically, families Age of Mothers who have and have not 15-19 years old: 10% 23% 20% 20-25 years old: 52% 44% 41% experienced 26-30 years old: 21% 13% 23% 31-48 years old: 17% 20% 16% homelessness are similar. Race/ Ethnicity Most families headed by Black/ Non-Hispanic: 58% 74% 56% Hispanic: 32% 18% 34% a young mother. (avg. 24 White/Non Hispanic: 8% 5% 8% years old) Other: 2% 3% 2% Number of Children Black/Non-Hispanics are Two or Less: 44% 50% 43% over represented. Three to Four: 42% 40% 43% More than Five: 14% 10% 14% One-third of all mothers Relationship with Child’s have no relationship with Father Married: 14% 5% 16% their child’s father. Romantically Involved: 20% 17% 21% Separated/Divorced: 9% 8% 9% Friends: 24% 28% 24% The majority did not No Relationship: 33% 42% 31% completed high school. Education Less than high school: 64% 65% 64% HS Diploma or GED: 25% 28% 24% Some College/Tech: 11% 7% 12% College Degree: <1% <1% <1%Institute for Children and Poverty 8
Residential Stability and Homelessness of Poor Families Children in poor families more likely to experience housing instability with 78% of families moving at least once by the time the child has turned five. On average poor children move twice by age five, with 34% moving three or more times. 22% of the families experienced some type of homelessness (including being doubled-up with family and friends, or living in shelters, cars, tents or abandoned buildings) 11% of the families experienced literal homelessness (only those living in shelters, cars, tents or abandoned buildings) Over 440 children were homelessness at least once in the five year study period. Over one in four families were homeless more than once. 9Institute for Children and Poverty
Residential Stability and Homelessness of Poor Families Among poor families who experienced homelessness: 59% of the children moved 3 or more times by age five. 5% of families reported no moves which means the children were homeless consistently for the first five years of their lives. 59% 70% 60% 50% 34% 31% 40% 25% 24% 24% 22% 21% 20% 30% 20% 16% 20% 5% 10% 0% None One Twice Three or more All Poor Ever Homeless Poor Never Homeless 10Institute for Children and Poverty
Income and Economic Resources of Poor Families Among poor families who experienced homelessness: Over half earned no income during the last 12 months. Earned less than the average poor family. Less likely to have sufficient funds for routine living expenses. 47% Earned no income 53% 46% 68% Earned income <$10,000/year 76% 67% 46% Unpaid utility bills 64% 44% 11% Family experienced hunger 23% 9% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% All Poor Ever Homeless Poor Never Homeless 11Institute for Children and Poverty
Poor Families and Dependence on Public Assistance Poor families who have experienced homelessness are more dependent on public assistance than other poor families. 100% 95% 90% 80% 83% 78% 80% 70% 59% 56% 57% 60% 52% 50% 45% 44% 41% 40% 40% 30% 20% 10% 0% Received food Received welfare Received housing Lived in public stamps benefits assist./vouchers housing All Poor Ever Homeless Poor Never Homeless 12Institute for Children and Poverty
Safety Nets and Support Networks of Poor Families While poor families have limited support networks and financial safety nets, those who have experienced homeless fare far worse. Support Networks Financial Safety Nets 59% 33% No one to cosign a No financial or parenting 71% 42% $1,000 loan support from childs father 58% 31% 56% 21% No one to lend them No one to provide 68% 27% $1,000 emergency childcare 55% 20% 28% 24% No one to lend themNo where to stay in case of 35% 33% $200 an emergency 27% 23% 0% 20% 40% 60% 80% 0% 20% 40% 60% All Poor Ever Homeless Poor Never Homeless 13Institute for Children and Poverty
Domestic Violence Experiences of Poor Families Poor mothers who have experienced homelessness are more likely to have experienced domestic violence, thus further contributing to their housing instability. 50% 46% 45% 43% 40% 35% 32% 30% 30% 30% 28% 25% 22% 20% 15% 12% 11% 10% 5% 0% Experienced some type of Experienced physical Experienced sexual domestic violence domestic violence domestic violence All Poor Ever Homeless Poor Never Homeless 14Institute for Children and Poverty
Conclusions While it appears that poor mothers who experienced homelessness are very similar to all other poor mothers, they are more likely to be black and to have no relationship with their child’s father. Poor families who experience homelessness are more likely to have had histories of housing instability. While overall all poor families have limited incomes, those who experience homelessness are more dependent on public assistance and are more likely to lack sufficient funds to pay living expenses. In general poor families lack strong financial safety nets and support networks. However, these are weaker for poor families who experience homelessness. Poor mothers who experience homelessness are more likely to have experienced some type of domestic violence when compared to other poor mothers. 15Institute for Children and Poverty
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