A newly released government report shows that approximately 170,000 families visited homeless shelters in 2009. This number is a 30 percent increase from 2007. As McClatchy Newspapers reports, the study is a grim reminder of how hard the economic recession was felt by many.
As the magnitude of the problem becomes clear, the Obama administration will unveil next week a first-ever national plan to end homelessness altogether. The plan will strengthen efforts to help homeless veterans and to make prevention of homelessness a goal for all federal agencies.
"The Obama administration is committed to ending homelessness in all its forms," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "As a nation, we appear to be doing a better job sheltering those who might otherwise be living on our streets, but clearly homelessness is impacting a greater share of families with children."
This plan will be released on Tuesday, June 22, by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, which was charged last year with creating the first ever far-reaching U.S. strategy to end homelessness.
Other sobering statistics from the 2009 Annual Homeless Assessment Report To Congress: 62 percent of homeless are part of a minority group and 38 percent have a disability.