Homeless in America


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Homeless in America

  1. 1. Homelessness in America The Forgotten Faces
  2. 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. 3. Myth Busters http://www.caction.org/homeless/ECHO/ECHO_Video_ 12-10-06.swf
  4. 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. 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. 6. Causes of Homelessness Inability to pay rent Mental Illness Domestic Violence Unaffordable Health Care Addictions and Substance Abusewww.nationalhomeless.org
  7. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 21. Homelessness in Texas
  22. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 27. Questions?Rhonda Ladner RNladnerr@uhv.edu
  28. 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/