ERIC Number: ED317645
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1989-Dec
American Nightmare: A Decade of Homelessness in the United States.
National Coalition for the Homeless, Washington, DC.
A 1989 national survey of the dimensions of homelessness found that at least three million Americans are homeless and that the shortage of affordable housing was cited as the chief cause. Information was gathered from a telephone survey of emergency shelter providers, housing advocacy organizations, and local governments in 26 communities, ranging from small rural communities to large cities. The following summary findings are reported: (1) virtually every community, regardless of size, reported that its housing needs and the rate of homelessness were growing but none would be able to meet the need in the foreseeable future; (2) families with children comprised the fastest growing sector of the homeless population, the majority of which were headed by women, and unaccompanied minors comprised over 25 percent of the homeless in large cities; (3) special needs groups within the homeless population included the mentally ill, comprising at least 30 percent of the homeless in 17 communities, and substance abusers, comprising 33 percent of the homeless in 16 communities; (4) although not identified in the survey, there is growing evidence that Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) can cause able-bodied, fully-functioning individuals to become homeless; and (5) minority groups, usually African Americans, comprised over half of the homeless population in 11 communities but the rate of homelessness among Hispanic Americans and Native Americans has increased recently. Profiles outlining the state of homelessness in the survey cities are appended. (FMW)
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: National Coalition for the Homeless, Washington, DC.