The Bassuk Center connects and supports communities across the nation serving families, youth, and children experiencing homelessness. Using research-based knowledge and evidence-based solutions, we advance policies and practices that ensure housing stability and promote the wellbeing of family members.
We see a day when everyone in America has a safe and decent place to live, and the economic and social opportunities that allow families, youth, and children to thrive.
Community Providers Report An Increase In Family Homelessness
A national survey of community providers who work with homeless families finds that family homelessness is increasing, and shows very strong support for solutions that combine both housing and services.
Families now constitute approximately 37% of the overall homeless population and the numbers are increasing. An estimated 2.5 million are children—more than half under six years old.
As a nation, we have committed to preventing and ending family homelessness by 2020. But we won’t accomplish this without sufficient resources and the political will to tackle the problem. Instead,family homelessness is downsized by federal policymakers to match available resources, rather than responding to the actual need.
The Family Options Study (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) followed an estimated 2300 families from emergency shelters in 12 communities. The results show that permanent housing vouchers are critical for stabilizing families in the community. However, decades of research and field experience also demonstrate that while housing is essential, it is not sufficient.
Affordable housing must be combined with services that support families, youth, and children. This requires collaboration across systems of care, including housing, health and mental health, substance use, child welfare, and criminal justice. Building on the legacy of the National Center on Family Homelessness, we are forming the National Network to End Family Homelessness to share effective strategies and solutions across communities and systems, and press for decisive federal action.
It is time to pay attention to the fact that we are creating a Third World in our own backyard and witnessing a growing human tragedy. We must demand from our leaders that not one child is homeless in America—not even for one night.
Bassuk Center President Ellen L. Bassuk, M.D.
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