Recession may add 1.5 million homeless

The National Alliance to End Homelessness recently issued a report claiming that our current recession will cause over 1.5 million additional Americans to experience homelessness in the next two years.

Take a moment to consider that number; the Alliance is estimating 2009 and 2010 will each result in approximately 866,000 more individuals – men, women and children – experiencing homelessness.

Eddie and Eddie, a father and son who came through the Coalition's programs, show the changing face of homelessness

Eddie and Eddie, father and son, show the changing face of homelessness

As is evident in the above statistic, the magnitude of lives devastated by the recession over the next two years will be immense. Already, many communities are recording an increase in homelessness, particularly in the number of families. The Alliance quotes statistics from New York, Massachusetts and Minnesota, in particular. Each region reports disturbing increases in the number of homeless for their area.

As for Central Florida, the Coalition has seen an alarming increase in families needing our services; last fiscal year alone we saw a 17% increase in families.

The Alliance calls for more federal assistance to address the growing needs of the homeless. In light of the recession, they believe receiving needed funds and support from private sources is inconceivable.

While our agency firmly agrees that federal assistance is needed to address the issues of the homeless, we can’t discount the generosity and empathy our communities display, even in the midst of their own hard times. And here is the foundation for our reasoning: The Coalition receives over 70% of our resources from the private sector (individuals, businesses, faith-based groups, etc.). This steady support has instilled in our staff a faith in our community’s dedication to helping their neighbors in need.

Families with children are now the fastest growing segment of the homeless population

Families with children are now the fastest growing segment of the homeless population

As homeless service networks across the nation face an incoming tide of men, women and children needing their services, we hope that Central Florida can continue to prove that they truly care about their neighbors in need.

To do that, we encourage you: join us in addressing this growing crisis. Together, our community can tackle the issue of homelessness in Central Florida and perhaps, by joining as one, can begin to break the cycle.

To see the full rerport by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, click here.