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Would you like to understand more about the issue of homelessness? Here are some resources to help you get started.

Homelessness in Our Community

State of Homelessness: Wisconsin (National Alliance to End Homelessness, 2019)
While family homelessness rates have dropped significantly over the last few years in our community, statistics show general homelessness rates are still high in Dane County. Dane County has 11.4 homeless per 10,000 people in the population, compared to 9.1 in Milwaukee county and 7.7 in the state of Wisconsin.

Locked Out: How Sweeping Changes to Wisconsin Landlord-Tenant Laws Affect Vulnerable Populations (The Cap Times, Feb 7, 2018)
Since 2011, Wisconsin’s Legislature has passed more than 100 changes to landlord-tenant law. The laws have sped up the eviction process, made it easier to evict tenants, allowed landlords greater power to look into tenant’s histories and pulled back local control.

Evicted in Dane County: A Collaborative Examination of the Housing Landscape (October 2016)
A recent report by graduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that “between 2000 and 2015 there were 40,439 eviction court cases initiated in Dane County, with an average of 2,527 cases per year.” The summer months had the highest number of evictions.

Digging Deeper: Life in Limbo for Hundreds of Madison Area Kids Living in Motels (Madison WKOW, February 2017)
Homeless kids living in motels face a wide range of problems—including cramped sleeping quarters, no space for possessions and constant instability. Reporters spoke with The Road Home staff while preparing this piece.

Seeing is Believing: It’s Hard to Deny the Awful Reality of Homelessness in Madison (Isthmus, January 2017)
The city of Madison has taken some important steps in its fight against homelessness by building affordable housing and putting homeless liaisons in the schools. Still, the problem looms large. Melissa Mennig, The Road Home Program Director, contributed to this story.

Homeless in Madison: A City Challenged (Wisconsin State Journal Special Report, 2016)
Homelessness is one of the biggest problems facing the Madison area. Reporters spent nine months researching and learning about the problem—and the solutions. In four “chapters” and many articles, videos and photos, they tell the story of what they found.

Rising Homelessness Should Be Wake-Up Call to Wisconsin, Leaders, Advocates Say (Wisconsin State Journal, June 2016)
According to this article, “Decades of inadequate leadership and insufficient direct funding from the state have weakened the fight against rising homelessness in Wisconsin.”

Housing Insecurity in Madison Spiraling Out of Control (Channel 3000, June 2016)
Community shelters step in to help many families but still the need continues to grow, fueled by factors such as the very low vacancy rate in Madison, high rents and poverty.

Finding Solutions for Madison’s Homeless (Madison Magazine, February 2016)
New ordinances and trends continue to change the face of homelessness as Madison city officials along with nonprofits and other community members seek to find a solution for the growing problem.

Homelessness Across the County

Federal Data Summary 2014-15 to 2016-17 (National Center for Homeless Education, Feb 2019)
Research shows it’s hard for children to learn when they’re homeless. Nationwide only 30% of children experiencing homelessness test proficient in reading and 25% tested proficient in math. Wisconsin children experiencing homelessness did particularly poorly with less than 16% scoring proficient in math.

2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress (The US Department of Housing and Urban Development [HUD], 2018)
HUD’s newest report showed a slight increase in homelessness although family homelessness continued to decline. African Americans were significantly over represented, accounting for 13% of the total population but 40% of the homeless population.

Home, Together. The Federal Strategic Plan to End Homelessness (United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, 2018).
This report reviews the progress made across the country in the last few years and sets a plan for the future. The plan emphasizes the importance of continuing to adhere to Housing First practices, connecting people experiencing homelessness to “permanent housing swiftly and with few to no treatment preconditions, behavioral contingencies, or other barriers.” The plan also suggests focusing on developing and expanding the supply of safe and affordable rental homes.

Homelessness in America: Focus on Families with Children (United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, Sept 2018)
While data reflects encouraging progress in the reduction of the overall number of families
experiencing unsheltered or sheltered homelessness, data reported by school districts reflect an increase in the number of students identified as experiencing homelessness at some point during the school year. Homeless children have higher rates of mental health problems, developmental delays, cognitive outcomes and depression.

The Gap: A Shortage of Affordable Homes (National Low Income Housing Coaltion – NLIHC, March 2018)
This report discusses the shortage of affordable housing in our country, concluding that the US has a shortage of 7.2 million rental affordable and available to extremely low income households. Yet, extremely low income households account for over 25% of all renter households.

2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress (The US Department of Housing and Urban Development [HUD], 2017)
HUD’s recent summary showed overall decreases in family homelessness across the country. Homelessness among families with children declined 5.4 percent nationwide since 2016 and a 27% decrease since 2010. There were increases in overall homelessness in some communities though.

Out of Reach 2017 (National Low Income Housing Coalition)
This report tells us that: “In order to afford a modest, two-bedroom rental home in the U.S., renters need to earn a wage of $21.21 per hour. The Housing Wage for a two-bedroom apartment is $13.96 higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25, and $4.83 higher than the average hourly wage of $16.38 earned by renters nationwide.”

Priced Out in the United States (Technical Assistance Collaborative, 2017)
According to this report, “In 2016, there was no housing market in the United States where a person with a disability whose sole source of income was SSI could afford a safe, decent rental unit.” Supplemental Security Income is $763 a month while the average rent in the US is $861. The report includes policy suggestions.

2016 The State of Homelessness in Wisconsin (Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Report, June 2017)
This reports gives an overview of homelessness in Wisconsin. It states that homelessness has decreased in the past few years. 44% of homeless clients were served in Dane or Milwaukee counties and 41% of homeless clients served were in families. Black Wisconsinites were twelve times more likely to be homeless than white Wisconsinites.

2015 American Almanac of Family Homelessness (The Institute for Children, Poverty and Homelessness)
According to the ICPH “the number of homeless students in the country’s classrooms has more than doubled since before the recession.” That’s an alarming trend, but the report offers some hope: At least part of the increase, the authors say, is not because more students have become homeless, but because states have gotten better at identifying homeless students. There were about 1.4 million homeless students nationwide in the 2013-14 school year.

The effect of homelessness on children’s education has been well documented. The National Center for Education Statistics reported that in 2014-2015, there were 1.26 million homeless students including 18,000 in Wisconsin.