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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

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.

Surge in Homelessness Tests Wisconsin Capital’s Welcoming Spirit (New York Time, Sept 2015)
Facing a 40% surge in homelessness, Madison has caught the nation’s attention. Mayor Paul Soglin successfully passed a controversial ordinance making sleeping outside of City Hall illegal.

Homelessness Across the County

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.

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.

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.

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.

Youth Homelessness in America (National Network for Youth, 2014)
Research shows that children who have experiences homelessness transfer schools more often, are more likely to miss school and have lower standardized test scores

Don’t Call Them Dropouts: Understanding the Experiences of Young People Who Leave School Before Graduation (America’s Promise Alliance, 2014)
Homelessness is one of the majors causing of high school youth not finishing high school as youth who have experiences homelessness are 87 percent more likely to leave school than their peers.

No Safe Place: The Criminalization of Homelessness in the US Cities (The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty)
This study looks closely at laws that categorize homeless behaviors such as sleeping or even being in certain areas as criminal. They conclude that this kind of response does nothing to address the underlying causes of homelessness, violates basic human rights of the homeless and is expensive to taxpayers.

Homelessness and Its Effect on Children (Family Housing Fund), 1999.
The impact of homelessness begins before a child is even born and continues building as long as those conditions remain. Homelessness affects children’s physical and emotional health. It is also correlated with developmental disabilities. Homeless children also perform poorly academically. Yet research also shows that with consistent and early intervention strategies, children can overcome many of these negative outcomes.