"Shelters and related services for the homeless are facing funding shortfalls as the downturn takes its toll on state budgets and corporate donations. And while individual donors in many cases are keeping up gifts - or even digging a little deeper for charities that help with urgent needs like food and shelter - the service providers say they are faced with a rapidly growing demand from people losing jobs and homes in the economic crisis.
Even as census-takers fan out in cities across the country this week in an attempt to count homeless populations, advocates and experts point to a bevy of evidence that homelessness is rising and will continue to, most notably among families with children.
Shelters across the country report that more people are seeking emergency shelter and more are being turned away. In a report published in December, 330 school districts identified the same number or more homeless students in the first few months of the school year than they identified in the entire previous year. Meantime, demand is sharply up at soup kitchens, an indication of deepening hardship and potential homelessness."