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Poverty and Homelessness in the United States. Rebecca S. Myers, LSW Director of External Relations National Association of Social Workers, USA Johannesburg, South Africa Wednesday, October 15, 2008. Poverty Facts. 12.5\% of Americans live in poverty Rate in 1950s was 22.4\%

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poverty and homelessness in the united states
Poverty and Homelessness in the United States

Rebecca S. Myers, LSW

Director of External Relations

National Association of Social Workers, USA

Johannesburg, South Africa

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

©2008 National Association of Social Workers. All Rights Reserved. 1

poverty facts
Poverty Facts
  • 12.5% of Americans live in poverty
  • Rate in 1950s was 22.4%
  • Calculations were established in the 1950’s and 1960’s
  • Rates are higher for people who are African-American and Latino
  • Rates are highest for families headed by single women
  • Rates for native-born are lower than rates for foreign-born

©2008 National Association of Social Workers. All Rights Reserved. 2

poverty facts3
Poverty Facts

Children are disproportionately living in poverty

  • Children are 25% of the population, but 35% of the population that is living in poverty
  • 17.8% of all children live in poverty
  • Rate varies by ethnicity

©2008 National Association of Social Workers. All Rights Reserved. 3

efforts to address poverty
Efforts to Address Poverty

©2008 National Association of Social Workers. All Rights Reserved. 4

half in ten www halfinten org
Half in Ten www.halfinten.org

Cut Poverty in Half in Ten Years

Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN)

Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF)

Coalition on Human Needs (CHN)

Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR

Focus on the situations facing the poor and middle class today

Demand legislative action on poverty and economic mobility

Advance specific legislative and policy proposals that will deliver real benefits to struggling American families

every child matters education fund www everychildmatters org
Every Child Matters Education Fund www.everychildmatters.org

Make children, youth, and families a national political priority

Promote adoption of policies for children and youth:

  • Affordable, comprehensive health care services
  • Early-care and learning opportunities and after-school programs
  • Preventing violence against children
  • Alleviating child poverty
  • Addressing the needs of children with parents in prison

Urges candidates to support, and the public to demand, greater investments in programs that address the needs of America's families

poor people s economic human rights campaign www economichumanrights org
Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign: www.economichumanrights.org
  • A movement that unites the poor across color lines
  • Committed to uniting the poor as the leadership base to abolish poverty everywhere and forever
  • Promotes economic human rights, named in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
  • UDHR based on founding creed of the United States
homelessness facts
Homelessness Facts
  • In one year, 1 in 200 people accessed a homeless residential program
  • 15% are veterans
  • 4% are people living with HIV/AIDS
  • 13% are victims of domestic violence
  • 28% have severe mental illness
  • 39% have chronic substance abuse
  • 2% are unaccompanied youth

©2008 National Association of Social Workers. All Rights Reserved. 8

chronic homelessness
Chronic Homelessness

Individual with a disability who has been either continuously homeless for a year or more or has experienced at least four episodes of homelessness in the last three years

18% of people who are homeless are considered chronically homeless

ending chronic homelessness
Ending Chronic Homelessness

Interagency Council on Homelessness

  • Federal government coordinating group
  • End chronic homelessness in 10 years
  • Works with local governments
  • More effective to provide housing plus supportive services
national alliance to end homelessness
National Alliance to End Homelessness

A Plan to End Homelessness in Ten Years

  • Document need
  • Prevention

Rent and housing assistance

Discharge people into housing

  • Outreach
  • Shortening Time of homelessness
  • Links to services
community programs
Community Programs

Washington Interfaith Network (WIN)

  • Faith-based community organizing
  • Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF)
  • 2500 units of supportive housing
  • 30% affordable housing in all new developments
  • Neighborhood Investment Fund (NIF)
  • Rental and permanent housing
resources
Resources
  • Industrial Areas Foundation: www.industrialareasfoundation.org
  • Interagency Council on Homelessness: www.ich.gov
  • National Alliance to End Homelessness: www.endhomelessness.org
  • National Poverty Center, University of Michigan: www.npc.umich.edu/poverty
  • US Department of Housing and Urban Development; “Third Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress;” July 2008: www.hudhre.info/documents/3rdHomelessAssessmentReport.pdf

©2008 National Association of Social Workers. All Rights Reserved. 13

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