This paper explores the characteristics and causes of homelessness among poor families with children.
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
Burt, M., Laudan, Y.A., and Lee, E. (2001). Helping America’s homeless: Emergency shelter or affordable housing? Washington, DC: Urban Institute Press. Climaco, C., Finkel, M., Nolden, S., and Rich, K. (2004). Updating the Low Income Housing Tax Credit database: Projects placed in service through 2002. Cambridge, MA: Abt Associates, Inc.
Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. 5.3 Gaps in the Knowledge Needed to Develop a Typology of Homeless Families
The most important areas on which information is needed are how many homeless families need intensive ongoing supportive services to maintain stable housing and when those services need to be packaged with a housing subsidy or delivered on site. It is estimated that 22,000 families need permanent supportive housing based on some rough and ready de
Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. 5.2 Implications for a Typology of Homeless Families
A key distinction made in this chapter and one most relevant to any typology of homeless families is between families who need permanent mainstream housing and those who need permanent supportive housing. That distinction relates to the intensity of the service needs of parents leaving homelessness, whether those services are so essential to t
Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. 5.1 Federal, State, and Local Housing Policies
Federal Policies. The broadest implication of the information reviewed in this chapter and the implication most relevant at the Federal level is that there is a need for more funding for housing subsidies that follow the assisted housing model so that families trying to leave homelessness are not in direct competition with housed families with s
This section considers, first, which housing policies controlled at the Federal, state, and local levels would help provide mainstream subsidized rental housing for parents who have become homeless. Then, the implications of the information provided in this chapter for developing a typology of homeless families are discussed.
Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. Section 4: Proposed New Resources for Subsidized Mainstream Rental Housing
Housing assistance is not an entitlement, and there is a very large gap between the number of families who need subsidies for affordable rental housing and the number of available subsidies. This puts families attempting to leave homelessness for mainstream subsidized permanent housing in direct competition with families who are housed but who hav
Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. Section 3: Housing Resources for Permanent Housing for Parents Who Have Become Homeless and Their Children: Permanent Supportive Housing
In Exhibit 2 a very rough estimate was presented that there were 22,000 families with children who need to leave homelessness for permanent supportive housing at a point in time in 1996. This may be an overestimate of the number of permanent supportive housing units needed for families, as it may underestimate the ability of parents to live in mai
Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. 2.4 Barriers to the Use of Assisted and Affordable Housing Programs by Parents Leaving Homelessness and Their Children
The assisted and affordable housing programs have almost 3.5 million units of subsidized rental housing large enough for families with children, and it is likely that about 720,000 million of these units turn over each year ( Exhibit 6 ). By comparison, there are only 55,000 parents who are homeless at a point in time who need mainstream subsidize
Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. 2.3 Assisted and Affordable Rental Subsidy Programs as a Resource for Homeless Parents Who Need Mainstream Permanent Affordable Housing
There is less information about the rate at which HOME and LIHTC units turn over than there is about the assisted housing programs. It is likely that affordable housing units turn over at a more rapid rate than assisted housing units because they are less likely to represent a unique opportunity for the households occupying them to live in units t
Since 1990, most of the growth in rental housing subsidy programs has been in affordable housing rather than assisted housing. The LIHTC was enacted in 1987 and, as of 2004, had produced about 1.2 million units of rental housing. In other words, the program is about the same size as the public housing program, and unlike public housing it contin
Assisted housing programs are examined first, which, of the two groups of programs, is the more likely to be usable by parents who have become homeless and are seeking permanent housing. Because assisted housing programs charge rent on the basis of actual income, however low, any family exiting homelessness should be able to afford to live in an a
Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. Section 2: Housing Resources for Permanent Housing for Parents Who Have Become Homeless and Their Children: Mainstream Subsidized Rental Housing
What housing resources are available to provide mainstream permanent housing for homeless families? This section discusses the Federal programs that provide subsidized rental housing to low-income families and individuals. To understand the potential of each of these programs for serving families leaving homelessness, it is important to distinguis
Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. Section 1: How Many Families with Children are Homeless and What Kind of Permanent Housing Do They Need?
An estimate based on the National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers and Clients (NSHAPC) is that in 1996 there were 60,860 families with children currently experiencing homelessness. 1 , 2 Another 101,840 homeless adults were parents of children under the age of 18 whose children do not live with them.
Characteristics and Dynamics of Homeless Families with Children. Appendix C: Permanent Housing for Homeless Families: A Review of Opportunities and Impediments
Achieving stability in permanent housing is considered by many to be the overriding goal of the system of services for people who are homeless. Providers of service may have other important objectives tailored to the particular needs of their client population and associated with helping people to become as self-reliant as possible through employm
Housing history of the child Duration of current episode of homelessness for the child New or recurrent homelessness for the child Housing instability of the child prior to homelessness With parent(s) in shelters or separated from parent(s) History of foster care Child’s appraisal of homeless situation Traumatic history of the
Precipitating factor Natural disaster or condemned housing Eviction by landlord or by foreclosure for lack of payment Immediate post-hospitalization loss of housing Immediate post-release from jail inability to find housing Loss of job Gradually increasing financial distress In and out of homelessness with short turnaround (less tha
Demographics Single or two-parent family Number of children Age of children (infants, pre-school, school, adolescents) Pregnancy Age of parents Social capital Education of parents Parenting ability of parents Work skills and habits Helpful informal network Prison/jail record Illegal alien History of institutionalizati