The United States Conference of Mayors Task Force on Hunger and Homelessness has released a 100-page Hunger and Homelessness Survey of 27 cities for 2009.
Among numerous other results, the cities surveyed report “a sharp increase in the need for hunger assistance over the past year. On average, cities reported a 26 percent increase in the demand for assistance, the largest average increase since 1991.” In addition, the survey revealed “an increase in requests from middle class households that used to donate to food pantries, as well as increases in requests from families and from people who are uninsured, elderly, working poor, or homeless. People also are visiting food pantries and emergency kitchens more often.”
The report indicates that “a large increase in the amount of food distributed over the past year was driven by both increased supply — federal assistance from the stimulus package — and increased need. Growing demand has caused food banks to distribute more and stockpile less.”
Alternatively, “despite the recession, 16 cities, 64 percent of respondents, reported a leveling or decrease in the number of homeless individuals over the past year. This is an indication of the success of policies aimed at ending chronic homelessness among single adults with disabilities.” Nevertheless, “nineteen cities, 76 percent of respondents, reported an increase in family homelessness. Cities attributed the increase in family homelessness to the recession and a lack of affordable housing.”