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Homeless in America

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  • 1. Homelessness in America The Forgotten Faces
  • 2. Learning ObjectivesAt the end of the presentation, the audience should be able to: Identify the McKinney-Vento Act criteria for homelessness Recognize 3-4 reasons a person may become homeless Describe the relationship between domestic violence and homelessness Identify 2-3 key issues the mentally ill homeless struggle with in our society Discuss the unique issues of the rural homeless
  • 3. Myth Busters http://www.caction.org/homeless/ECHO/ECHO_Video_ 12-10-06.swf
  • 4. McKinney-Vento Act A Bill passed by Congress in 1994 Determined the criteria for a person to be considered homeless by the government A person is considered homeless if:  1. Do not have a permanent residence and/or  2. Nighttime residence is a shelter  3. Nighttime residence is a government run facility www.nationalhomeless.org
  • 5. Statistics 3.5 million people (1.35 million are children) are likely to experience homelessness in a given year, according to National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, 2007 Homeless population is estimated to be 42% African American, 39% Caucasian, 13% Hispanic, 4% Native American, and 2% Asian, according to the US Conference of Mayors in 2007www.nationalhomeless.org
  • 6. Causes of Homelessness Inability to pay rent Mental Illness Domestic Violence Unaffordable Health Care Addictions and Substance Abusewww.nationalhomeless.org
  • 7. Government Action Section 8 public housing-allows person to pay 30% of their income towards rent and the government pays the rest. HUD Homeless Assistant Grants-provide money for shelter, transitional housing, and other services that homeless people need Health Care for the Homeless-provides health care to the homeless in an affordable way so that the person can receive care that they would otherwise not be able to get. www.nationalhomeless.org
  • 8. Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse Regular alcohol abuse is one of the leading risk factors for domestic abuse Alcoholic women are more likely to report a history of childhood abuse than non-alcoholic women Alcoholism treatment does not “cure” abusive behavior 51% of domestic violence program directors agree that a woman’s use of alcohol can be a barrier to leaving a violent relationshipwww.ncadv.org
  • 9. Cont’d The risk of domestic violence increases when both partners abuse drugs and/or alcohol Batterers living with women who have alcohol abuse problems often try to justify their violence as a way to control their victims when they are drunk Men who batter frequently use alcohol abuse as an excuse for their violence Children of substance abusing parents are more likely to experience abuse than children in non-substance abusing householdswww.ncadv.org
  • 10. Treatment for Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence No causal link between substance abuse and domestic violence Failure to deal with one without dealing with the other any treatment program interferes with the effectiveness of the program Many service providers recognize the correlation between substance abuse and domestic violence Few domestic violence programs can offer adequate counseling or health services for substance abuserswww.ncadv.org
  • 11. Reasons Limited funding and resources to pay for equipment and staff Primarily focus on providing safety and shelter There is fear that focusing on the substance abuse problems of victims will encourage victim blamingwww.ncadv.org
  • 12. Domestic Violence and the Homeless Approximately 63% of homeless women have experienced domestic violence in their adult lives When a woman decides to leave an abusive relationship, she often has nowhere to go. This is particularly true of a woman with few resources She is often forced to choose between a life of violence and a life on the streets Because of the nature of a homeless family, it takes longer to find permanent housing Compared to single men and women, families remained in emergency shelter, transitional housing and permanent supportive housing longerwww.nationalhomeless.org
  • 13. Cont’d Victims often have poor credit and poor employment histories due to the domestic violence Landlords often discriminate against victims if they have a protection order If violence occurs in the home, landlords can try to evict their tenants and the victims may become homeless because they were abused The Federal Housing Act Prohibits landlords from treating women differently from male tenants living in public housing, apartments, condominiums, trailer parks, and homeless shelters The National Law Center’s Domestic Violence Program works to improve access to housing for domestic violence survivors and their families Long term efforts to address homelessness must include increasing the availability of affordable housing, ensuring adequate wages, and providing supportive serviceswww. nlchp.orgwww.nationalhomeless.org
  • 14. Substance Abuse and the Homeless Substance abuse is often the cause of homelessness Addiction often disrupts families and causes people to lose jobs This in turn can lead to homelessness However, substance abuse can be the result of homelessness, not the cause The homeless use alcohol or drugs to cope with their situationswww.nationalhomeless.org
  • 15. Breaking the addiction Motivation to stop substance abuse is poor Survival is higher priority than personal growth and development Finding food and shelter is more important than drug counseling Many homeless have become estranged from family and friends and without the support of family and friends, recovery can be difficult Substance abuse also occurs with mental illness for many homeless and they use street drugs as self-medication Many programs for substance abuse do not take clients with mental disorders and programs for mental disorders do not take clients with substance abuse disorders.www.nationalhomeless.org
  • 16. Mental Illness and the Homeless According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 20-25% of the homeless in the US suffers from a form of severe mental illness. Patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder are particularly vulnerable Mental disorders may also affect physical health, especially in the homeless Roughly half of the mentally ill homeless population in the US also suffers from substance abuse and addiction The combination of mental illness, substance abuse and poor physical health makes it very difficult for people to gain employment and stabilitywww.nationalhomeless.org
  • 17. Cont’d Availability of treatment services for the mentally ill would not only help mental illness, but improve homelessness also Many homeless people have admitted they are open to treatment for their mental illness Permanent housing may be the key to ending homelessness, but residential stability is best achieved by offering treatment services for the homeless’ mental illness issueswww.nationalhomeless.org
  • 18. Rural Homeless Homelessness is not just an urban phenomenon People experience the same difficulties associated with homelessness and housing distress in America’s small towns and rural areas as in the larger cities There are far fewer shelters in rural areas than in urban areas They are less likely to live on the streets or in a shelter and more likely to live in a car or camper, or with relatives in overcrowded or substandard housing Restricting the definition of homelessness-literally living on the street-would exclude the rural homeless from accessing federal dollars to address their problemwww.nationalhomeless.org
  • 19. Cont’d McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act definition (refer to page 1) Does not create and atmosphere that includes rural homeless while it does include their urban counterparts Rural homelessness, like urban homelessness is the result of poverty and lack of affordable housing Rural homelessness is most pronounced in rural regions that are primarily agricultural; regions based on mining, timber, or fishing; and regions experiencing economic growth, for example: industrial plants that attract more workers than jobs available and areas near urban centers that attract new businesses thus driving up taxes and living expenses
  • 20. Cont’d Ending rural homelessness is complicated by lack of awareness, isolation and lack of resources Broadening the definition of homeless to include temporary or dilapidated facilities would be helpful Outreach to isolated areas Awareness on a national level Ultimately it requires job that pay a living wage, affordable housing, access to health care and transportationwww.nationalhomeless.org
  • 21. Homelessness in Texas
  • 22. Amazing Facts January 2011, on a single night, approximately 36,800+ individuals were homeless in the state of Texas. They were on the streets, under bridges, in campers, abandoned lots, emergency shelters and in other places not intended for human habitation Homelessness attacks, men, women, children, families, mentally ill, persons with disabilities, full-time employees, chronic substance abusers, victims of family violence and veterans Most individuals experience short episodes of homeless lasting only a few nights, but some experience chronic homelessness that lasts more than a year. Approximately 91,000 Texans experience homelessness over the course of a year Homelessness impacts about 7% of the households living below 30% of the Area Median Income (AMI) in Texas and this is when access to housing is at its most dangerouswww.thn.org
  • 23. Amazing facts cont’d Texas experienced an increase of approximately 4% from 2009 to 2010 in the number of poor households that spent more than 50% of their incomes on rent HUD defines this as a household that is severely burdened by the cost of housing The “doubled up” population which is people who live with friends, family or other nonrelatives for economic reasons increased by 12% in Texas from 2009 to 2010 Ken Martin, Executive Director of Texas Homeless Network supports the availability of Permanent Supportive Housing units in order to substantially reduce chronic homeless, which Texas saw an increase of 22% Over and over, the theme remains whether state, local or national, people become homeless due to insufficient financial resources to obtain or maintain permanent affordable housingwww.thn.org
  • 24. Get into Action Volunteer in a local shelter or food bank Organize a clothing drive and donate the items to a local shelter Write your local congressman or representative and urge them to support legislation that will benefit homeless people Participate in a Homeless Challenge-spend 24 or 48 hours on the streets with homeless guides and learn about the challenges of being homeless Homeless Challenge Project toolkitwww.nationalhomeless.org
  • 25. Local Homeless Shelters Salvation Army La Dominion Apartments for the Homeless1302 N. Louis 3605 E. Forrest #GVictoria, TX 77901 Victoria, TX 77901(361)576-1297 (361)572-4566 Martha’s Kids Homeless Shelter Coastal Bend408 E. Goodwin 6502 Nursery Drive Suite 100Victoria, TX 77901 Victoria, TX 77904(361)578-5811 (361)575-0611 Perpetual Help Home Women’s Shelter705 East Santa RosaVictoria, TX 77901(361)575-5335
  • 26. Contacts National Alcohol and Substance Abuse Information Call Center 1-800-784-6776 www.addictioncareoptions.com National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE www.ndvh.org National Coalition Against Domestic Violence www.ncadv.org
  • 27. Questions?Rhonda Ladner RNladnerr@uhv.edu
  • 28. References Kaye, C. B. (2007). A kid’s guide to hunger & homelessness How to take action! Minneapolis, MN: Free Spirit Publishing Inc. ISBN- 13: 978-1-57542-240-4 http://www.addictioncareoptions.com http://www.nationalhomeless.org http://www.ncadv.org http://www.ndvh.org http://www.nlchp.org http://www.thn.org/