March 2015

Dear Reader,

The new year is well underway and so are the efforts that we are putting forth to meeting the needs of the homelessness in our community. We thank all the hard work of previous board members who have exited and welcome our new members.  Top priorities this year are going to be raising funds for our operational expenses that have increased, strategic planning, and communication improvements. Committees have been developed and will be reaching out to our volunteers for help. Let’s all try to make 2015 a huge success!

Family Promise Board of Trustees

To make you aware

The Big Picture
While circumstances can vary, the main reason people experience homelessness is because they cannot find housing they can afford. It is the scarcity of affordable housing in the United States, particularly in more urban areas where homelessness is more prevalent, that is behind their inability to acquire or maintain housing.

By the numbers:

  • In January 2014, there were 578,424 people experiencing homelessness on any given night in the United States.
  • Of that number, 216,197 are people in families, and
  • 362,163 are individuals.
  • About 15 percent of the homeless population – 84,291 – are considered “chronically homeless” individuals, and

About 9 percent of homeless people- 49,933 – are veterans.

These numbers come from point-in-time counts, which are conducted, community by community, on a single night in January every other year. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires communities to submit this data every other year in order to qualify for federal homeless assistance funds. Many communities conduct counts more regularly.

Coastal Community Action is the organization that conducts this count for our county. In 2009 the Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing (HEARTH) Act was put into place to help end homelessness in our nation after the economy took a major drop.

Families living in poverty fall into homelessness, usually due to some unforeseen financial challenge, such as a death in the family, a lost job, or an unexpected bill, creating a situation where the family cannot maintain housing. People who become homeless often have strained financial resources and are challenged by the cost of housing (e.g., rent and utilities). In some instances, families, friends, and other related and non-related persons live together in one unit to reduce individual housing-related costs. In fact, this phenomenon of living doubled up is often the last living situation of households that become homeless. Over 50% of households income go toward housing expenses.

Even though unemployment rates have decreased, poverty levels remain unchanged. Poverty and homelessness are interconnected. Our state has increased in poverty by 1.91% from 2011-2012. Our state is 18% of the national poverty level. From 2009-2013 Carteret County has 14.4% living in poverty.

Family Promise is looking into expanding its program into permanent supportive housing. After our guests have successfully completed our program we still support them up to a year. We all experience downfalls from time to time. Congregational and individual support is very important to Family Promise to helping us better meet the needs of poverty and homelessness in our county.