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National Alliance to End Homelessness

Newsletters | October 24, 2006

October 24, 2006    

    POLICY  \|  DATA + RESEARCH  \|  TOOL + TRAINING  \|  NEWS + MEDIA Forward Editor: Samantha Batko    
Spotlight On...

New Alliance Resource: Explainer


The National Alliance to End Homelessness has launched “Explainer,” a new series of resources that answers questions about homelessness policy and research. In the first “Explainer,” the Alliance examines how much money the federal government spends on homelessness. Answering this question should be as simple as summing the total expenditures for homeless assistance programs. Homeless programs, however, do not fit neatly into one federal agency; instead they are spread across several, including the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Department of Education (ED), and the Department of Labor (DOL). Find out the answer to this question and read more about federal spending on homelessness in “How Much Does the Federal Government Spend on Homelessness?”



The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) funds over 7,000 transitional housing programs that offer 220,000 beds, according to a new report by the Urban Institute. The report, “Characteristics of Transitional Housing for Homeless Families,” was written in preparation for a larger study sponsored by HUD’s Office of Policy Development and Research. The report covers 53 transitional housing programs in Cleveland and Cuyahoga County, Ohio; Detroit and parts of Wayne County, Michigan; Houston and Harris County, Texas; San Diego City and County, California; and Seattle and King County, Washington.

The average length of stay in transitional housing programs included in the study was 12 months with 62 percent of program participants leaving before the 12 month mark. A majority of transitional housing programs (85 percent) in the study required program participants to be clean and sober at entry, 81 percent of programs have rules against using alcohol, and 100 percent have rules against using illegal substances. The report also examines housing outcomes after transitional housing finding that on average 35 percent left for permanent housing without a subsidy, 22 percent left for housing with a subsidy, 13 percent left with a subsidy and supports (this category can include PSH), 13 percent reunited with family, and 4 percent returned to homelessness. According to the report, 23 percent of participants exiting transitional housing do not have successful exits; about half of these families leave on their own and the other are terminated from the program involuntarily.

The reports findings are based on administrative data from HUD and surveys of program administrators.

Hundreds of Economists Support Raising the Minimum Wage

The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) recently released a statement calling for the minimum wage to be increased. In this statement, signed by over 650 economists, including five Nobel Prize winners and six past presidents of the American Economic Association, EPI says an increase of the federal and state minimum wage “can significantly improve the lives of low-income workers and their families, without the adverse effects that critics have claimed.” The statement argues that the increase would primarily benefit female adults who are members of low-income working families. The minimum wage has a real value lower than it had in 1951 and is only 31 percent of the average hourly wage of a non-supervisor worker. The Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2005 proposed a phased-in increase to $7.25, which according to economists would benefit the labor market, workers, and the overall economy.

District of Columbia Housing Monitor

NeighborhoodInfo DC, a project of the Urban Institute, released a quarterly housing report for fall 2006. Among the key findings is that thousands of DC’s affordable housing units continue to be at risk of going offline. Approximately half of DC’s housing units subsidized under Section 8 and other federal multifamily programs are set to expire by March, 2007. Wards 1, 6, and 7 hold the greatest share of the units set to expire this year. Other findings include evidence that the home sales market is slowing and that all Wards but 1 and 7 experienced price declines.

Also included in this report were findings from a sub-prime mortgage lending study conducted in 2003 and 2004. Sub-prime loans are generally targeted to those with low incomes or poor credit histories. Due to the non-regulated nature of these loans, they can often be predatory in nature and demand high shares of monthly income. This study found that Wards 5, 7, and 8 were disproportionately affected by sub-prime loans. Many areas in Wards 7 and 8 experience rates of sub-prime purchase loans over 15 percent of total home purchase loans.

The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonpartisan, non profit organization dedicated to solving the problem of homelessness and preventing its continued growth.

How much does the federal government spend on homelessness?

$1.928 billion dollars is spent on federal programs dedicated to homeless people.

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