Friday, January 30, 2009

Homelessness Surges as Funding Falters

Providers to the poor try to stretch meager resources to meet growing need
by Kari Huus.
Published on Friday, January 30, 2009 by MSNBC
In Photo on the left:

Ken Mildfelt, left, known as Pork Chop, and his brother Ernie, known as Lamb Chop, prepare dinner at their camp site along the Kansas River in Topeka, Kan., Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009. In the first major census of the homeless since the recession, thousands of volunteers across the country fan out in the thick of night this week to count the most desperate members of their communities. Both were counted at the community center where they eat lunch. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
Excerpt from article:
The CityTeam closure is a piece in the expanding problem of homelessness across the nation: Shelters and related services for the homeless are facing funding shortfalls as the downturn takes its toll on state budgets and corporate donations. And while individual donors in many cases are keeping up gifts - or even digging a little deeper for charities that help with urgent needs like food and shelter - the service providers say they are faced with a rapidly growing demand from people losing jobs and homes in the economic crisis.
"A downturn in (overall) funding in this case is accompanied by a surge in demand, so a homeless shelter, food pantry, or job-training program is going to feel it first," says Chuck Bean, executive director of Nonprofit Roundtable of Greater Washington, in the District of Columbia. "Even if they have 100 percent of their budget compared to last year, they now see a 50 percent surge in demand. Then (they) get into the tough decisions: Do you thin the soup, or shorten the line?"
It never ceases to amaze me how so many people talk trash about our homeless in this country. Many of us are just a paycheck or medical problem away from joining the ranks of the houseless. Remember that many homeless people are veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and they could use our help. Another emerging homeless population demographic are those that have jobs but don't make enough money to pay rent and utilities. This demographic is growing by leaps and bounds.
A great web site for the houseless and those in Humboldt County that would like to offer a space to sleep or other help or services

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