I recently picked up the 2015 report on the State of Homelessness in America, I found it an incredible read. There were a number of statistics that jumped out at me:
- Almost 580k people defined as homeless in the US (in shelter or unsheltered)…this is a single day survey, but the best data we have on the numbers
- Over 170k of these are without shelter at all
- Federal funding for homelessness reached $4.5B in 2015…the highest level in history (commendable)
- Unaccompanied youth and children represent 7.8% of the figure….that’s 45+k youth and children on their own!
- We have close to 50k veterans homeless….amazing, although this figure has declined 33% in the last 5 years thanks to some of the recent policies of the federal government
- In fact, while the numbers are high, a number of the forms of homelessness have declined over the past 5-7 years….this shows that some of the efforts are paying off
- For California, we have close to 120k homeless persons for 2014, a drop of 2.3% from 2013
- California has by far the most homeless veterans, at over 12k (or 25% of the group)….this figure has declined YOY, but is still alarmingly high
- California also has the highest count of Children and Youth who are homeless, at close to 14k, 12% of the total figure (this is likely to be a low number due to the data collection)
- When we look at the pipeline of potential homeless candidates, the data is alarming….
o 48m declared in poverty (up 26% since 2007), California dominates this group at 16.8%
o 6.4m people in poor households doubling up (up 65% since 2007), California has the highest portion of this group also (over 15%)
- We have added 18% to our bed inventory since 2007, the issue is that it is not correctly distributed and have significant shortfalls….California being the 3rd most overcrowded.
So, you sum this picture up and it’s a mixed bag of some positives dwarfed by some big concerns and areas of focus. For me, you can sum it up in a few key statements:
- If you have served this country in the military, you should NEVER sleep a night in a bed that you don’t consider your true Home. We have a responsibility to house our veterans, no matter the cost. I will gladly sacrifice taxes to ensure this is achieved
- If you are a youth, child, or family, we need to house you. If the cycle can be broken, this would appear to be the best place to start.
- Homelessness comes at a huge cost…estimated at over $30k per person per year….yet, housing solutions would come at less than 1/3rd this cost….allowing close to $3.5B to support other related social programs.
November is HomeAid San Diego’s Homeless Awareness Month, and we at Brookfield are proud to support the efforts of the HomeAid team to increase attention on this need. The team at HomeAid San Diego has prepared a “giving” calendar for the month, each day contains an item to increase exposure to homelessness….from donations to hosting drives, to volunteer programs….so much to support an incredible cause.
So, from all of us at Brookfield Residential, we wish you a wonderful “giving” November and hope that you will do anything you can to support Homeless Awareness in the San Diego region…..it will really help!
COO, Brookfield Residential