Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. Endnotes


1 The NSHAPC classifies “currently homeless” families as those who reported that, on the day of the survey or during the 7-day period prior to being interviewed, they stayed in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program; or a hotel or motel paid for by a shelter voucher; or an abandoned building, a place of business, a car or other vehicle; or anywhere outside. In addition, families are classified as currently homeless if they report that the last time they had “a place of [their] own for 30 days or more in the same place” was more than 7 days ago; or said their last period of homelessness ended within the last 7 days; or were selected for inclusion in the NSHAPC client survey at an emergency shelter, transitional housing program; or reported getting food from “the shelter where you live” within the last 7 days; or, on the day of the interview, said they stayed in their own or someone else’s place but that they “could not sleep there for the next month without being asked to leave.”

2 The NSHAPC data are available at NSHAPC data were weighted up to national totals by applying to the “rescaled” weight variable (CLIWGT) in the NSHAPC data set a factor derived by dividing the NSHAPC-based estimate of the total number of currently homeless households by the rescaled weight for these households. Burt, Aron, and Lee (2001), derive from NSHAPC an estimate that there were 346,000 homeless households during an average week in October-November 1996. A slightly different definition is applied to the NSHAPC for parents who are homeless together with their children, by including parents who say their children are living with them even if they were not physically present in a shelter at the time the survey was conducted. These children are highly likely to be reunited with their parents.

3 The gender distribution of parents in the NSHAPC who are homeless without their children were analyzed and found that 80 percent of these parents are male and 20 percent are female. Assuming that 10 percent of male parents are reunited with their children and 75 percent of female parents are reunited with their children, about 25 percent of all such parents will be reunited with their children. The estimate that 25 percent of homeless parents will be reunited with their children is conservative—that is, more likely results in an overestimate of the need for permanent housing for families who have become homeless than an underestimate.

4 It also would overstate the number who need permanent supportive housing. For the way in which the profile of those homeless over the course of a year differs from those homeless at a point in time, see Wong et al., (1997) and Culhane and Kuhn (1997). The average number of days homeless is greater for families than for individuals, implying that the multiplier used to go from a 1-week estimate to a 1-year estimate should be lower for families (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, forthcoming 2006). This further supports the use of 3 rather than 4 as the multiplier.

5 There are minimum rent provisions, but the minimum rents are so low that they do not affect families that have some source of income, even if the amount is small. In addition, families using Housing Choice Vouchers may choose housing units with rents above the program’s subsidy (payment) standard and pay the additional cost without a subsidy, resulting in a rent greater than 30 percent of income. The program rules specify that their total housing cost may not be greater than 40 percent of their income at the time they first use the voucher.

6 This database can be found at sets/assthsg/statedata98/index.html.

7 The mean length of stay in public housing for families with children is 5.59 years.

8 The estimates in Exhibit 3 are based on a voucher program of 1.9 million units. This is 100,000 fewer than the number of vouchers shown in the January 2005 HUD budget estimates and is a more realistic estimate of numbers of vouchers likely to be placed under lease at current budget levels.

9 HOME National Production Report, June 2005; HUD’s Annual Performance Report for FY 2004, p. 2-39.

10 For example, Illinois’ new Comprehensive Housing Plan commits 15 percent of capital development resources for multifamily housing targeting families and individuals who are homeless.

11 Units that are both assisted and affordable housing are counted as assisted housing in the exhibit. HOME units are reduced by 62 percent: 40 percent because they also have rental assistance and by another 22 percent because, altogether, 62 percent of HOME units use the LIHTC. In effect, it is assumed that all of the HOME units with rental assistance also have LIHTC. It is difficult to tell how many LIHTC units do not have HOME and do have rental assistance. LIHTC units are reduced by 10 percent to reflect this phenomenon. The application of these assumptions probably results in a conservative estimate (the error is in the direction of a slight underestimate) of the net number of affordable housing units that do not have rental assistance.

12 These estimates include only housed families, because they are derived from the American Housing Survey, which is a survey of housing units.

13 Rents charged as a percentage of income are often referred to as “Brooke Rents,” after former Senator Edward Brooke. Brooke Rents originally were 25 percent of income. Legislation increased assisted housing rents to 30 percent of income in the early 1980s.

14 A good source of information on these proposed and actual changes to the voucher program and their potential impact is the web site of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities,

15 These are net figures, subtracting from the total cases of unfavorable treatment those cases in which White, non-Hispanic households received less favorable treatment than minorities seeking rental housing. As such, they are considered by the researchers to represent lower bound estimates of discrimination against minorities seeking rental housing.

16 While overall the rates of success in using vouchers are as high for members of minority groups as they are for White non-Hispanic households (Finkel and Buron, 2001). Finkel and Kennedy (1992) found that, in the late 1980s, success rates for minorities were higher on average in jurisdictions that had a relatively high minority population, and lower on average in jurisdictions that did not.

17 Based on analysis of HUD’s database of Annual Performance Reports (APR) for 2003. Because of the nature of the housing stock, the Section 8 Moderate Rehabilitation Single Room Occupancy program does not serve families.

18 Based on a HUD data set of units under subsidy in the Section 811 and Section 202 programs.

19 This description is based on “The National Housing Trust Campaign: Proposal for Legislation,” National Low Income Housing Coalition, February 2, 2005.

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