Economic Conditions Drive Thousands to Non-Profit for Emergency Housing

With the economy continuing to take a toll on individuals and families over the past five years, more people are turning to the Department of Social Services for emergency housing. Despite mass foreclosures resulting in a surplus of single-family houses, homelessness is worse than ever.

With the economy continuing to take a toll on individuals and families over the past five years, more people are turning to the Department of Social Services for emergency housing. Despite mass foreclosures resulting in a surplus of single-family houses, homelessness is worse than ever. The apparent paradox arises as poor families cannot compete in the New York suburbs with the better-off families who previously lost their homes.

Community Housing Innovations, Inc. (CHI), a non-profit organization which provides temporary housing, affordable housing and foreclosure counseling in Westchester County, Hudson Valley and Long Island, noted that more and more people are seeking housing and counseling services from the organization despite any improvements in the economy. CHI is one of the largest providers of emergency housing in the counties it serves, but one of many non-profits doing so. A study by the Institute for Families, Children and Homelessness finds that the gap between the need and availability of affordable units for the very poor has grown from no gap in 1970 to over 5.5 million units. A study of “worst case” housing needs by HUD released earlier this month found a staggering 43% increase since 2007 in the number of very low income families paying more than 50% of their income for rent — 2.6 million more households.

In 2012, CHI served 2,639 people on Long Island who sought emergency housing and/or counseling, which is up from 2,228 people in 2009. It served 1,726 Long Islanders in emergency housing last year, compared to 1,599 people three years before. The number of referrals and clients requiring crisis intervention services from CHI more than doubled from 260 (five per week) in 2009 to 676 (approximately 13 per week) in 2012. According to CHI, those in emergency housing stay an average of four to six months.

In Westchester County, the number of CHI’s emergency housing clients grew from 119 in 2009 to 206 last year. In Dutchess County, 211 people were in emergency housing in 2009 but last year, that number grew to 273. The increased demand is a reflection in the growing homelessness problem in Westchester County. Last year, there were more than 1,500 individuals who were homeless in Westchester — a 24% increase, according to the Westchester Coalition for the Hungry and Homeless. That includes 700 children, an increase of 63%.

Despite the high salaries that Westchester County residents pull down, there are still many middle-class families seeking assistance at local food pantries. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average salary in Westchester County was $75,855 a year in 2011 — down from an annual salary of $77,165 in 2007, but higher than the state’s 2011 average of $51,126 a year. However, the Westchester Coalition for the Hungry and Homeless saw 80,395 recipients last year, which was higher than the previous year.

Many factors have resulted in more people turning to non-profits groups for assistance, such as job loss, lack of affordable housing, high property taxes and the rising prices of food and gasoline. “Despite the economic recovery for the wealthy, it is becoming harder than ever for low-income families to make ends meet, whether it is trying to pay the mortgage or feed themselves and their loved ones,” said CHI’s executive director, Alexander Roberts.

In addition to private donations, CHI relies mostly on government funding. However, with a sizable decrease in charitable giving and elected officials cutting budgets to close deficits, it has become more difficult for CHI to confront the growing demand for services. “We are seeing an increase in the number of families in need turning to nonprofit groups for help,” Mr. Roberts said. “But in these tough economic times, organizations such as ours are also seeing our budgets stretched to the limit as we receive more requests for assistance.”

For more information, visit www.chigrants.org.


Contact Details

Company Name: Community Housing Innovations, Inc.
Issued By: Community Housing Innovations, Inc.
Phone: (631) 475-6390
Address: 55 Medford Avenue, Suite B,
City: Patchogue
State: NY
Zip: 11772
Country: United States
Website: Visit the website

Keywords : economic conditions, thousands, non-profit, emergency housing,

by Community Housing Innovations, Inc. (few years ago!)

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