Out in the Cold

By: Joe Hamilton
By: Joe Hamilton

The bitter cold temperatures are making it down right dangerous outside. The mercury is expected to dip into the single digits with winds making it feel closer to zero. This has a number of the cities less fortunate looking for a place to get warm.

Many of the city's shelters are seeing a steady increase in the amount of people utilizing their services. The American Red Cross shelter is more than half full. Those numbers they say represent a jump in the number of people who have lost their jobs during the past year. Entire families are also visiting city shelters now in increasing numbers because they say they just can't find jobs.

The number of people in homeless shelters has more than doubled across the country over the last four years. They say those numbers could start forcing them to turn people away, something they in they don't like to do, especially during the winter months.

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Facts about Homelessness

  • On any given night, 750,000 Americans are homeless.

  • Over the course of a year, as many as two million people experience homelessness for some period of time.

  • These are the people who live on the street, in shelters, in cars, and in campgrounds.

  • Millions more live in precarious situations—over-crowded with family or friends, housed temporarily in institutions like prisons or mental hospitals, or paying too much of their income for rent.

  • The fastest growing group of homeless people consists of families with children.

  • Families make up about 36 percent of the people who become homeless.

  • The typical homeless family consists of a young unmarried mother with two or three small children.

  • Many of these young mothers are fleeing domestic violence, and most lack the work skills, access to child care, or access to jobs necessary to support their families.

Source: www.endhomelessness.org (National Alliance to End Homelessness Web site) contributed to this report.


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