A Snapshot of Family Homelessness Across America
The authors discuss the nature of family homelessness in America, focusing on the issues around policy and the general view of the problem in the public's eye.
Homelessness remains one of the most misunderstood and least documented social policy issues of our time. For almost two decades, the majority of efforts to understand the issues surrounding homelessness have focused solely on transient men. Yet over the last fifteen years, the country has seen the rise of a new poverty: homeless families. Each year since 1993, the U.S. Conference of Mayors has reported that this group comprises the fastest growing segment of the homeless population. Today there are 400,000 homeless families in shelter, representing 1.1 million homeless children across America. Many American s refuse to believe, however, that entire families are homeless in the richest country in the world. This collective denial has had grave consequences for homeless children and their families. The lack of hard data has not only obscured the complex nature of family homelessness, it has led to a crisis of policy in the dark. Policy prescriptions that are politically expedient have dominated public discourse. However, these policies are long on rhetoric and short on a reasoned appreciation for the myriad of factors that contribute to and sustain family homelessness. (Authors)
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