Over 500 gather in San Diego at National Conference on Ending Family Homelessness

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National Alliance to End Homelessness

Press Releases | February 17, 2009

Feb. 11, 2009

Contact: Lauren Wright
202-942-8246, lwright@naeh.org

Event Coincides with Senate Passage of $1.5 Billion for Homelessness Prevention and Rehousing through Economic Stimulus Bill

Washington, DC – Over 500 homeless advocates from across the country—including agency leaders, government officials, service providers, and homeless people—will gather in San Diego, California to participate in the National Alliance to End Homelessness’ fifth annual National Conference on Ending Family Homelessness. Lynn Rosenthal, Executive Director of the New Mexico Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Nan Roman, President of the National Alliance to End Homelessness will keynote the conference, which will be held from February 12-13 at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina.

According to a report released last month by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, 83,935 families with children experience homelessness on any given night. Data has not yet been compiled to estimate the number of families who were homeless nationally in 2008, but many communities have reported significant increases in their local homeless population since the economic recession began.

As cities like Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, Portland, and Seattle report increases in family homelessness, the Senate’s passage this week of $1.5 billion for homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing through the economic stimulus bill came at a critical time. The National Alliance to End Homelessness had estimated that without this intervention, the recession would have caused approximately 1.5 million additional Americans, most of them families, to become homeless in 2009 and 2010.

“I know I speak on behalf of many when I say I’m thrilled and encouraged by the unprecedented increase in funding for homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing through the economic stimulus bill,” said Nan Roman, President of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. “As an increasing number of families experience foreclosure and eviction, this much-needed funding will be critical in either helping them to maintain their housing or moving those who have lost housing back into homes as quickly as possible.”

The federal funding will soon reach cities and states where it will be used to provide short term housing assistance, relocation funding, housing searches, security and utility deposits, mortgage payments, rent payments, and case management for those at risk of or already experiencing homelessness.

The State of California will receive nearly $191 million of the $1.5 billion in grants, while the city and county of San Diego (along with nearby cities of Chula Vista and Oceanside) will receive $9.8 million in grants.

“Hopefully with the additional funding we’ll be able to continue making progress in ending family homelessness by implementing Ten Year Plans to End Homelessness that emphasize a need for rapid re-housing for families,” Roman said.

Over 300 cities across the U.S. have adopted Ten Year Plans to End Homelessness and a number of major cities had reported progress in reducing the number of people living on the street. Much of this progress was lost when the recession hit in 2008.

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness’ Homelessness Counts report, family homelessness had decreased by 15 percent nationally from 2005 to 2007.

“We proven that access to affordable housing is the way to reduce and ultimately end homelessness,” Roman said. “That’s why, in addition to the $1.5 billion, the federal government must allot funding to the National Housing Trust Fund in order to build, rehabilitate and preserve 1.5 million units of housing for the lowest income families over the next 10 years. And, while the vast majority of families move out of homelessness quickly with only temporary assistance, there must also be an increase in the number of available housing vouchers for low income families who simply cannot afford housing.”

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, studies have shown that families exiting homelessness with a housing subsidy are 21 times more likely to remain stably housed than families exiting a shelter without assistance. Unfortunately, there are millions of low-income families eligible for housing subsidies that do not receive them because of a lack of funding.

The National Conference on Ending Family Homelessness features workshops and experts who will discuss the current recession’s impact on family homelessness as well as the most cutting edge research, program models, strategies, and skills needed to work towards ending family homelessness in urban, suburban, and rural communities nationwide.

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The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonpartisan, mission- driven organization committed to preventing and ending homelessness in the United States. The Alliance analyzes policy and develops pragmatic, cost- effective policy solutions. Working collaboratively with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to build state and local capacity, the Alliance provides data and research that lead to stronger programs and policies that help communities achieve their goal of ending homelessness. For more information on The National Alliance to End Homelessness, visit: www.endhomelessness.org