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Saturday, March 24, 2012

U.S. Homeless Rates Still Alarmingly High

Photo by Neema Sadeghi (mediaroots.org) 
March 24, 2012 - "An estimated 600,000 Americans are currently homeless, including nearly 70,000 veterans, according to the recently released The State of Homelessness in America from the National Alliance to End Homelessness. That's a small drop-off from 2009, but U.S. rates are alarmingly high: 21 homeless per 10,000 people across the country." So says a disturbing - and very interesting - article published on March 24, 2012 on The Atlantic Cities website.

With the help of his colleague Charlotta Mellander, Richard Florida took "a quick look at the factors that might be associated with the rate of homelessness across metros, including crime, weather, and economic conditions."

Florida notes that that "correlation does not imply causation" and that some factors - not taken into account by their study - "might also come into play." He goes on to say that their analysis challenges widely held but false beliefs ("myths") about homelessness.

Florida says that they "found no correlation between homelessness and the share of African-Americans in a population, while the correlation between homelessness and the percent of Hispanics was positive (.34)."

However, that is starkly contradicted by a study released this month that states, "The stark reality is that black Americans are greatly overrepresented in U.S. homelessness and poverty statistics when compared to whites." That study, from The Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness (ICPH), says that a number of factors "leave blacks more likely to have smaller financial reserves to fall back on in emergency situations; reside in poor, segregated, and unsafe neighborhoods that lack community resources; and experience homelessness."

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