Survey finds mental illness, lack of services lead causes for homelessness
Mental illness and a lack of social services are primary factors in an increase in homelessness, according to the Washington-based U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) 2006 Hunger and Homelessness Survey. The 23-city survey also found that requests for emergency food assistance increased 7 percent over last year, while requests for emergency shelter increased by 9 percent.
However, 23 percent of both types of requests went unmet. In 86 percent of the surveyed cities, homeless families may be turned away from shelters because of a lack of resources. USCM President and Trenton, N.J., Mayor Douglas Palmer says cities must work with federal and private sector partners to address the problem. “As mayors of cities in the richest and most powerful nation in the world, we cannot simply stand by as our residents — families with children — continue to suffer.”
Gaithersburg, Md.-based food service company Sodexho joined with USCM to conduct the survey.