WASHINGTON – Homelessness in the United States rose for the fourth consecutive year. At the beginning of 2020, around 580,000 people were living on the streets or in emergency shelters an annual nationwide survey that was completed before the pandemic.
But the report, released Thursday, almost certainly underestimates the breadth, depth and urgency of the crisis, and not least, federal officials warned.
The report showed a 2.2 percent increase in homelessness from a year earlier, but that doesn’t reflect the displacement of people who lost their jobs due to the sharp downturn caused by the coronavirus.
“I can’t give you numbers on how much homelessness has increased during the pandemic, but we know it has increased,” said Marcia L. Fudge, who was confirmed as Minister for Housing and Urban Development by President Biden last week. during a White House briefing.
Calling the situation “devastating”, she said the country has a “moral responsibility” to address both long-term homelessness and the difficulties created by the coronavirus.
HUD officials say the effects on homelessness may not have been known for years. However, the nationwide eviction moratoria in force since last spring, which are due to expire this year, have slowed the pace of displacement a report from the Government Accountability Office This week’s publication showed that the programs were not universally effective.
Ms. Fudge, a former Democratic congresswoman from Ohio, set herself an ambitious goal during her briefing: reduce the number of homeless by 130,000 by using additional resources her department has given as part of the $ 1.9 trillion coronavirus -Auxiliary Act by Mr Biden.
The package includes $ 21.55 billion for emergency rental assistance$ 5 billion in vouchers for emergency shelter for families displaced by the economic fallout from the pandemic, $ 5 billion for homeless assistance, and $ 850 million for tribal and rural housing.
But Ms. Fudge, known for her outspoken views on race and poverty, said the funding, while welcome, was a fraction of what it would take to tackle the crisis once and for all.
When asked how much is needed, she replied, “$ 70 billion to $ 100 billion” – roughly double the department’s annual budget for all of its programs.
She didn’t crush any words when asked about the state of her agency, which had suffered an exodus under her predecessor, Ben Carson.
“We are thousands of people who are not where we should be,” said Ms. Fudge, who described the department’s remaining career workers as “underserved, understaffed and overworked.”
Even before the pandemic, homelessness was a major national problem, especially in large cities. The country’s two largest cities, New York and Los Angeles, account for a quarter of all homeless people counted in the 2020 survey.
The annual snapshot, taken on a single evening in January 2020, signaled worrying trends: For the first time in years, homelessness among veterans and families – two groups targeted by recent federal housing efforts – did not improve.
The stimulus payments would be $ 1,400 for most recipients. Those who are eligible would also receive an identical payment for each of their children. To qualify for the full $ 1,400, a single person would need an adjusted gross income of $ 75,000 or less. For householders, the adjusted gross income should be $ 112,500 or less, and for married couples filing together, that number should be $ 150,000 or less. To be eligible for a payment, an individual must have a social security number. Continue reading.
Buying insurance through the government program known as COBRA would temporarily become much cheaper. Under the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, COBRA generally lets someone who loses a job purchase coverage through their previous employer. But it’s expensive: under normal circumstances, a person must pay at least 102 percent of the cost of the premium. Under the Relief Act, the government would pay the full COBRA premium from April 1 to September 30. An individual who qualified for new employer-based health insurance elsewhere before September 30th would lose their eligibility for free coverage. And someone who left a job voluntarily would also be ineligible. Continue reading
This loan, which helps working families offset the cost of looking after children under the age of 13 and other dependents, would be significantly extended for a single year. More people would be eligible and many recipients would get a longer break. The bill would also fully refund the balance, which means you could collect the money as a refund even if your tax bill were zero. “This will be helpful for people on the lower end of the income spectrum,” said Mark Luscombe, chief federal tax analyst at Wolters Kluwer Tax & Accounting. Continue reading.
There would be a big one for people who are already in debt. You wouldn’t have to pay income taxes on debt relief if you qualify for loan origination or cancellation – for example, if you’ve been on an income-based repayment plan for the required number of years, if your school cheated on you, or if Congress or the President whisper $ 10,000 debt gone for a large number of people. This would be the case for debts canceled between January 1, 2021 and the end of 2025. Read more.
The bill would provide billions of dollars in rental and utility benefits to people who are struggling and at risk of being evicted from their homes. Approximately $ 27 billion would be used to assist with emergency rentals. The vast majority of these would replenish what is known as the Coronavirus Relief Fund, which is created by the CARES Act and distributed through state, local, and tribal governments. according to to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. This is on top of the $ 25 billion made available through the aid package passed in December. To get financial support that could be used for rent, utilities and other housing costs, households would have to meet several conditions. Household income cannot exceed 80 percent of area median income, at least one household member must be at risk of homelessness or residential instability, and individuals would be at risk due to the pandemic. Support can last up to 18 months. according to to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. Lower-income families who have been unemployed for three months or more would be given priority for support. Continue reading.
Homelessness affects black and Latin American communities with disproportionate violence. About 40 percent of the people counted were black, compared with 13 percent of the population, and nearly a quarter of the homeless identified themselves as Latino, a group that makes up about 18 percent of all Americans.
The number of people living on the street, the most visible reminder of a crisis that is also unfolding in shelters and among “couch people” who are forced to move in with family or friends, is also increasing.
For the first time since the nationwide homelessness survey was released in February 2007The number of single adults living on the street, at 209,000, was higher than the number of people in shelters, which was 199,500.
Every sixth homeless person, around 106,000, was under the age of 18. The majority live in emergency shelters. But 11,000 live outdoors at least some of the time, homeless, the report said.
Despite federal and state efforts to stop evictions, advocacy groups have reported an increase in the number of families affected by evictions and foreclosures, or economic insecurity so severe that it is putting their homes at risk.
Nearly two-thirds of the 280 renters and homeowners surveyed in the South Ward neighborhood of Newark said they were unable to pay their rent or mortgage in full and on time between August and September 2020.
The survey, carried out by Child TrendsA Bethesda, Md., Research organization that analyzes national and local data on child wellbeing reported that 27 percent of respondents had to move at least once during the pandemic.
“The majority of renters in the South District were unable to pay their rent or mortgage on time, and we believe that this situation, particularly among black families, has worsened during the pandemic,” said Sara Shaw, a researcher with the group who worked on the report.