Affordable Housing Key Component to Ending Family Homelessness

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National Alliance to End Homelessness

Press Releases | July 27, 2009

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Contact (Enterprise): TeAnnne Coleman Chennault 213.878.2734; tchennault@enterprisecommunity.org
Contact (Alliance): Catherine An 202-942-8297; can@naeh.org

Affordable Housing Key Component to Ending Family Homelessness
Review affirms that homeless families struggle primarily with finding affordable housing

A recent review of existing research on family homelessness has affirmed that the primary cause for most homelessness among families is the inability to find housing they can afford. As such, for the vast majority of unsheltered American families, homelessness can be alleviated through rental subsidies.

The review of existing research was commissioned by Enterprise Community Partners (“Enterprise”) and the National Alliance to End Homelessness (the “Alliance”). Conducted by leading homelessness expert and researcher Marybeth Shinn of Vanderbilt University, the brief – Ending Homelessness for Families: The Evidence for Affordable Housing – affirms what advocates had long been touting: access to affordable housing is the solution to homelessness.

“The difference between homeless families and other low-income families is nothing more than the housing they can afford,” said Nan Roman, president of the Alliance. “In this time of economic uncertainty and financial hardship, more and more families are struggling to make ends meet every month– and it is our responsibility to help those families most in need of public assistance. It is critical that Congress fully fund the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program and 200,000 new rent vouchers to assist homeless and severely rent-burdened households.”

The release of this review comes on the heel of another release: the 2008 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The report suggests family homelessness increased over the last year.

“In recent years, we’ve seen a persistent increase in the number of families needing homes they can afford. And this problem has only been exacerbated by the decrease in the affordable housing stock nationwide,” said Doris Koo, president and CEO of Enterprise. “By creating more affordable housing, family homelessness is something we can, and should, solve in America.”