Frequently Asked Questions About Homelessness

Posted On March 12, 2015 By | No Comments on Frequently Asked Questions About Homelessness

Who is Homeless?

  • As many as 3.5 million people will experience homelessness this year.[1]
  • 1.5 million of the homeless population are children and as many as 600,000 are children under the age of 5.
  • Only 35 percent of the homeless population is unemployed. [2]
  • Far too many veterans are homeless in America—between 130,000 and 200,000 on any given night—representing between one-fourth and one-fifth of all homeless people.[3]
  • 44% of the national homeless population is unsheltered.[4]
  • Families are the fastest-growing segment of the homeless population. COTS family shelters can accommodate 15 families at a time; they are full, with a waiting list.
  • Vermont’s homeless population grew by 9 percent in this year.  The 2014 Point-in-Time survey counted 1,556 homeless Vermonters the night of Jan. 28, including 227 people who said they were victims of domestic violence and 371 children.[5]

Why are Families Homeless?

  • 12 million renter and homeowner households pay more than 50 percent of their annual incomes for housing. [6]
  • A minimum wage worker cannot afford a local Fair Market Rent two-bedroom ANYWHERE in the United States.[7]
  • The average Fair Market Rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Burlingoton is $1,309, which is up 9% since 2011.  To afford that rent, a person would need to earn $27.27/hour or $52,365/year. The average vacancy rate in Burlington is 1.76%, fallen from 6.73% in 2008.[8]
  • The 5 leading causes of homelessness are (1) lack of affordable housing, (2) lack of a livable wage,      (3) medical conditions/expenses, (4) domestic violence, and (5) mental illness.
  • Some families living in poverty fall into homelessness, usually due to some unforeseen financial challenge, such as a death in the family, a lost job, or an unexpected bill, creating a situation where the family cannot maintain housing.[9]
  • Vermont is the 5th WORST state in the nation to find affordable housing.  For every 100 low income households looking to rent, there are only 48 units available in the state.[10]
  • Vermont home values have gone up 5.0% over the past year, and Zillow, a leading firm on data for real estate and rental markets, predicts they will rise 8.7% within the next year.

What Are Health Issues Associated with Homelessness in Children?[11]

  • Children experiencing homelessness are sick 4 times more often than other children.  They get 4 times as many respiratory infections, twice as many ear infections, 5 times more gastrointestinal problems, and are 4 times as likely to have asthma.
  • Homeless children go hungry twice as often as other children and 25% of homeless children report eating less after becoming homeless. They also have high rates of obesity due to scarcity of affordable foods with high nutritional value.
  • Children facing homelessness have 3 times the rate of emotional and behavioral problems compared with non-homeless children.  For example, 53% have problems such as anxiety, depression, or withdrawal, compared with 17% of other school-age children.
  • Homeless children are twice as likely to have learning disabilities and are 4 times as likely to have slow or delayed development.

[5] “Survey: State homeless population increases by 9 percent” By Laura Krantz April 17th, 2014 VT Digger

[8]  “Burlington Vermont Residential Rent and Rental Statistic,” Department of Numbers, 2014

[11] From The National Center on Family Homelessness and Doorways for Women and Families

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