Housing the Homeless

December 18, 2009 • Volume 19, Issue 44
Is the solution more shelters or affordable housing?
By Peter Katel


In the wake of the recession, growing number of families are living in shelters (Getty Images/John Moore)
Unable to pay her rent or find a job, a mother rests with her three children at the Presbyterian Night Shelter in Fort Worth, Texas, on June 19. In the wake of the recession, growing numbers of families around the nation are living in shelters. (Getty Images/John Moore)

The face of homelessness is changing in the United States. In the past, the homeless typically were single men and women who lived on the street or in shelters; many were mentally ill or drug addicts, or both. But today's homeless may well be a suburban couple with children who lost their home to foreclosure and are staying with relatives or living at a shelter. As the recession continues to ravage the middle class and the working poor, job losses and medical emergencies add to the number of homeless Americans. Advocates for the homeless also cite a shortage of affordable housing. A 2008 federal government survey showed a one-year 9 percent increase in families relying on homeless shelters. In recent months, local governments and school districts have been reporting homelessness cases more than doubling this year. But funding shortages may force agencies that help the homeless to curtail services.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Dec. 23, 2022  Homelessness Crisis
Apr. 02, 2021  Evictions and COVID-19
Mar. 02, 2018  Affordable Housing Shortage
Nov. 06, 2015  Housing Discrimination
Feb. 20, 2015  Gentrification
Apr. 05, 2013  Homeless Students
Dec. 14, 2012  Future of Homeownership
Dec. 18, 2009  Housing the Homeless
Nov. 02, 2007  Mortgage Crisis Updated
Feb. 09, 2001  Affordable Housing
Jan. 06, 1989  Affordable Housing: Is There Enough?
Oct. 30, 1981  Creative Home Financing
Nov. 07, 1980  Housing the Poor
Dec. 21, 1979  Rental Housing Shortage
Nov. 24, 1978  Housing Restoration and Displacement
Apr. 22, 1977  Housing Outlook
Sep. 26, 1973  Housing Credit Crunch
Aug. 06, 1969  Communal Living
Jul. 09, 1969  Private Housing Squeeze
Mar. 04, 1966  Housing for the Poor
Apr. 10, 1963  Changing Housing Climate
Sep. 26, 1956  Prefabricated Housing
Sep. 02, 1949  Cooperative Housing
May 14, 1947  Liquidation of Rent Controls
Dec. 17, 1946  National Housing Emergency, 1946-1947
Mar. 05, 1946  New Types of Housing
Oct. 08, 1941  Rent Control
Aug. 02, 1938  The Future of Home Ownership
Sep. 05, 1934  Building Costs and Home Renovation
Nov. 20, 1933  Federal Home Loans and Housing
Nov. 17, 1931  Housing and Home Ownership