City Desk

Homeless Families Up 20 Percent

The Atlantic Cities picks up a post Lydia DePillis wrote last week about how D.C. is housing 200 homeless families in hotels for a whole lot of money. Matt Stroud adds that it's a growing problem nationally, where homelessness has increased 20 percent, and that perhaps its time to think of permanent solutions:

John Lozier, executive director of the Nashville-based National Health Care for the Homeless Council, suggests that broader plans such as one proposed in Massachusetts to “get all families out of motels by July 2012 while saving significantly on emergency shelter services in the process” need to be given more consideration by state and city legislators. Otherwise hotels will continue to serve as expensive, temporary shelters for an increasing number of homeless families.

The irony, Lozier writes via email, “is that the cost of just a few nights in a hotel can pay a full month's cost of standard housing.”

Considering how slowly the economy is recovering, shelter-seeking families are likely to be a problem for years to come—and the problems with putting them up in hotels are numerous, as Jason Cherkis wrote last year—so it'll be interesting to see how cities re-imagine homeless services to meet their unique needs.

Photo by NCinDC via Flickr/Creative Commons Attribution Generic 2.0 License

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