ERIC Number: ED421580
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1998-Feb
Homeless Families Today: Our Challenge Tomorrow. A Regional Perspective.
Homes for the Homeless, Inc., New York, NY.; Columbia Univ., New York, NY, School of International and Public Affairs.
In order to increase the knowledge base on the public policy issues pertaining to family homelessness, Columbia University and the Institute for Children & Poverty designed and implemented an extensive survey on the demographics of homeless families. Data on more than 140 variables were collected from 743 homeless heads-of-households in the spring of 1997. The parents who were interviewed resided in 14 emergency and transitional family shelters in New York City and northern New Jersey. This research shows that the typical homeless parent is a young unmarried mother with two or three young children, who grew up in poverty and typically experienced or witnessed domestic violence at some point in her life; never completed high school, often dropping out because of pregnancy, and she has at least one child suffering from a chronic health problem. Before becoming homeless, this typical mother lived with parents, a partner, or doubled up with someone else. Typically, this parent is unemployed and entirely dependent on public assistance. These findings illustrate the complexity of family homelessness, but the multiple issues surrounding homeless families must be individually examined and addressed before an effective response can be initiated. Policy makers and the public must take notice of the hundreds of thousands of homeless families, and then take effective strategies to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness. This regional snapshot is a first step toward avoiding future crises. (Contains 2 tables and 12 figures.) (SLD)
Descriptors: Demography, Economically Disadvantaged, Educational Attainment, Family Characteristics, Family Violence Shelters, Homeless People, Low Income Groups, Parents, Policy Formation, Public Policy, Urban Problems, Urban Youth, Violence
Homes For the Homeless, 36 Cooper Square, 6th Floor, New York, NY 10003; phone: 212-529-5252.
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Homes for the Homeless, Inc., New York, NY.; Columbia Univ., New York, NY, School of International and Public Affairs.