Homeless shelters see 20% increases in need – 550,000 receive aid from Federal Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program

[categories: Washington bankruptcy attorney]

The NY Times’ Michael Luo reported upon the extreme toll the recession has taken upon young families. See NY Times "National" Section, Pages 19 & 28, September 12, 2010.

The Federal Government knows of the problem as well. The Feds have allocated $1.5 billion to be made available to homeless prevention causes over the ensuing three years as part of the stimulus package, known as the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program.

This article is striking and heartbreaking. It follows the story of Mr. and Ms. Griffith (aged 40 and 26) and their two children aged 3 and 16 months. Mr. Griffith was a hard working gentleman working two jobs. His primary $25/hour job as a waiter at a Florida Applebee’s restaurant ended when the restaurant closed. The family could not find work and returned to Providence, Rhode Island after a three day bus ride from Florida.

I was shocked at the story; living in a homeless shelter with an infant and a toddler is no freeloader’s picnic; I don’t know that I personally could survive the Griffith’s daily life. There are many, many rules at the shelter, and after three infractions of the rules the entire family is evicted – no exceptions.

The rules are easy to violate, and include rules against being found in your living quarters between 10:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. There is a rule against congregating around outside seating benches. If you are caught watching news programming on the TV in the common area, it is also an infraction.

The Crossroads shelter in Providence, Rhode Island (the shelter where the Griffiths reside) has seen a 20% increase in demand and occupancy for June, July and August 2010, over the same time period in 2009. Similarly, an Ohio Y.W.C.A. shelter in Columbus, Ohio, has seen similar increases in occupancy.

Homeless families jumped from 131,000 to 170,000 between 2007 and 2009.

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