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Georgia Homeless Awareness Month: Georgia Gives Day

Did you know that the average age of a homeless person is 9 years old?
And on any given night in Georgia there are more than 26,414 children, women and men with no place to call home.

The month of November has been proclaimed by Governor Nathan Deal as Georgia Homelessness Awareness Month. During this month homeless service providers throughout the state will be promoting a better understanding of what it means to be in situations of homelessness.
The Georgia Alliance to End Homeless works statewide with many of these services to improve the assistance given to clients.
We would like to encourage you in your support of ending homelessness to consider donating to us during our Georgia Gives Day campaign to raise $5,000 to fund programs aimed to assist homeless and low-income youth.

Homeless Awareness

Food Security

For Many Georgians, both homeless and housed, not having enough healthy and nutritious food to eat is painfully common.  Many must resort to using emergency food resources such as soup kitchens, food pantries and food banks or even begging or scavenging for food. Although these food resources can maintain a minimum caloric intake to sustain life they often times do not provide quality, healthy and nutritious foods. Often homeless families and individuals must decide whether to spend their financial resources on good nutritious food or just keeping a roof over their heads. Having an adequate, dependable and safe source of food is a fundamental need. For many homeless families and individuals this necessity of life has become an abstract concept and a day-to-day struggle. Food security is a process whereby community-based programs can work in tandem with a strong Federal nutrition safety net and emergency food assistance programs to move people from homelessness and poverty to self-sufficiency and food security.

What Is Food Security?

Food security for a families and individuals means access at all times to enough food for an active, healthy life. Food security includes at a minimum:

  • The ready availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods.
  • Assured ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways (that is, without resorting to emergency food supplies, scavenging, stealing, or other coping strategies).

Food Insecurity?

Food insecurity is limited or uncertain availability of nutritionally adequate and safe foods or limited or uncertain ability to acquire acceptable foods in socially acceptable ways.

 

Food Security Links and Resources

Veterans

One-quarter of the homeless population are veterans.

Veterans often become homeless as they face challenges in re-adjusting to civilian life. Post-traumatic stress and other mental and emotional conditions are common in veterans returning from combat, but many are not identified and treated. The inability to cope with these conditions, coupled with the difficulties in re-assimilation, often lead to a downward spiral that can result in homelessness.

Links For Veteran’s Services:

Prison ReEntry

Each year, nearly 650,000 people are released from U.S. prisons, and over seven million are released from jails. People exiting prisoner or jails are at increased risk for homelessness. More than 10 percent of those coming in and out of prisons and jail are homeless in the months before their incarceration. Shelter use, both before incarceration and after release, is associated with an increased risk of return to prison. Discharge planning from correctional facilities can prevent homelessness among former prisoners. Many former prisoners need help accessing affordable housing and services to help them reenter their community.

Mental Health

Homeless people suffer from high rates of mental health problems exacerbated by living on the streets and in shelters. The lack of residential stability makes care delivery more complicated. Approximately half of homeless people suffer from mental health issues. At a given point in time, 45 percent of homeless report indicators of mental health problems during the past year, and 57 percent report having had a mental health problem during their lifetime. About 25 percent of the homelessness population has serious mental illness, including such diagnoses as chronic depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorders, and severe personality disorders.

Many homeless people have problems with drug and alcohol use.

In a 1996 survey, 46 percent of the homeless respondents had an alcohol use problem during the past year, and 62 percent had an alcohol use problem at some point in their lifetime.

 

Families

Most Americans underestimate how the problem of homelessness affects families.

About 600,000 families and 1.35 million children experience homelessness in the United States. Family homelessness is more widespread than many think, but it is not an unsolvable problem.

Across the country, hundreds of communities are planning to end homelessness, and a handful of communities and many local programs are making progress in ending family homelessness

 

Videos and Articles

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is the immediate cause of homelessness for many women.

Research studies reveal that domestic violence is one of the most frequently stated causes of homelessness for families, with 13 percent of homeless families saying that they had left their last place of residence because of abuse or violence in the household.

Domestic violence victims have both short- and long-term housing needs that must be met so that they do not need to choose between staying with their abuser and sleeping on the street. Immediately, domestic violence victims need a safe place to stay. Ultimately, domestic violence victims need safe, stable, affordable housing. A general supply of affordable housing is crucial to this population so that they can afford to leave the shelter system as quickly as possible without returning to their abuser.

Chronic Homelessness

Chronic homelessness is long-term or repeated homelessness accompanied by a disability.

Many chronically homeless people have a serious mental illness like schizophrenia and/or alcohol or drug addiction. Most chronically homeless individuals have been in treatment programs, sometimes on dozens of occasions. The federal government’s definition of chronic homelessness includes homeless individuals with a disabling condition (substance use disorder, serious mental illness, developmental disability, or chronic physical illness or disability) who have been homeless either 1) continuously for one whole year, or 2) four or more times in the past three years. Research reveals that between 10 to 20 percent of homeless single adults are chronically homeless. This translates into between 150,000 to 200,000 people who experience chronic homelessness. Permanent supportive housing—housing linked with supportive services—is an effective strategy for ending chronic homelessness and it is cost effective.

Children and Youth

Youth homelessness is disturbingly common.

Although the prevalence of youth homelessness is difficult to measure, researchers estimate that about 5 to 7.7 percent of youth experience homelessness. With at least one million youth on the streets and in shelter—and thousands more leaving juvenile justice, mental health facilities, and leaving foster care systems—the problem of youth homelessness continues to grow.Everyone finds transitioning to adulthood difficult, but homeless adolescents have even greater obstacles to overcome. Stable housing linked with services are critical to helping homeless youth transition to adulthood.

America’s Youngest Outcasts – A State Report Card on Child Homelessness