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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Economic crisis transforming US homeless population

September 09 2009
Number of families seeking shelter rises The face of homelessness in the US is changing with more families, white people and non-city dwellers seeking shelter, according to a new report by the US Department of Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD's 2009 Annual Homeless Assessment Report found the number of families seeking shelter increased from 28.9 per cent to 32.1 per cent between 2007 and 2008, while the number of white, non-Hispanic sheltered individuals increased 4.1 per cent in the same period. The report also highlighted a decrease in the number of previously homeless people staying at residences, with more occupants coming direct from living with friends or family. Meanwhile, the sheltered homeless population in suburban and rural areas increased from 23 per cent to 32 per cent. The data collection period ended on 30th September 2008, as the downturn in the US was gaining momentum. The report concluded: "There is little evidence to suggest that the early months of the economic recession have created a surge in the number of sheltered homeless persons.‚Äö?Ñ?? However, it went on to admit that "the early signs of the recession's impact are present‚Äö?Ñ??. Because the report was produced before the economic crisis escalated, there could be much worse to come, especially, as the report points out, as "there is an expected time delay between the moment someone loses [his or] her job or home and the moment [he or] she enters the shelter system.‚Äö?Ñ?? HUD plans to start issuing quarterly reports to keep an eye on developments. Meanwhile the Obama administration has earmarked $1.2bn to combat homelessness.