The picture of homelessness in our city

Homelessness increased in our city by 14% during the past recorded cycle (2008).

There were 809 people who were homeless for the first time during that period.

There were a total of 1,273 children who were homeless during this time period, and 33 youth who were not with their parents.

The largest representation of children was in the age group of 1-3 years (23%), with the second largest age group being 4-6 years (22%). For the fourth year in a row, there seems to be an over-representation of homeless Hispanic children and youth (22%) as compared to the homeless adult Hispanic population (9%).

African-Americans (57%) represent the largest percentage of the total adult homeless population, followed by Caucasian (31%), and then Hispanic (9%).

The majority of homeless are in the age bracket of 40-49 Years (34%), followed by 50-59 Years (26%) and then 30-39 Years (19%).

The causes of homelessness are: Lost Job, Unemployed (43%), Substance Abuse/Dependence (31%), Not enough money (27%), Domestic Abuse/Family Problems (24%), Mental Illness (22%), Medical Disability (16%), Legal Problems/Prior Conviction (11%) and Eviction (7%).

Studies showed that when barriers are removed such as “fees” for shelter, persons were enthusiastically willing to leave the streets and move into a shelter.

There was a 56% increase in of homeless persons who moved into a transitional housing facility rather than live outdoors.

Transitional Housing – Housing in which homeless person live and receive supportive services that enable them to live more independently. If the project is funded by HUD, a maximum limit of 24 months is assigned for each resident/family unless extenuating circumstances exist. The key components of transitional housing as compared to Emergency Shelter are the extended length of stay and the ubiquitous presence of supportive services, whether on or off-site.

There was a 204% increase of homeless persons who moved into Permanent Supportive Housing rather than live outdoors, from 158 to 481 since 2004.

Permanent Supportive Housing (PHS) – Housing in which homeless persons with disabilities live and receive supportive services that help them to live more independently. The key components of PHS as compared to Transitional Housing are that residents must have a disability in order to qualify, and can continue to live in that facility and receive services for as long as they choose to, without time limits.

Click here to download the report by the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance.

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