The 'Latino Homeless Paradox'

The city of Philadelphia provides a case study of the so-called "Latino Homeless Paradox." There are many more low-income and homeless Latinos than reflected in the numbers of those using supportive services in the city.

1 minute read

January 20, 2019, 11:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell


Bumble Dee / Shutterstock

Julia Terruso and Emma Restrepo report on the situation facing homeless and low-income Latinos in the city of Philadelphia.

Latino homeless in the city are "an underserved, undercounted group that advocates say isn’t reaching city services designed to help them," according to the article.

"Latinos make up nearly 15 percent of Philadelphia’s population and form its poorest minority group — 38 percent live in poverty, according to census data. But step inside a city homeless shelter and there are few Latinos. Nationally, and in Philadelphia, they represent a small fraction of people in shelters," add Terruso and Restrepo.

Past research has identified the "Latino Homeless Paradox," which explains the disparity. "Wary of shelters, Latinos are more likely to live on the streets or couch-surf among friends and family."

In Philadelphia, the Latino Homeless Paradox extends beyond shelters. Fewer Latinos use Section 8 vouchers or use other supportive services in the city as well. The article includes a lot more data on some of the institutional reasons behind the paradox, and quotes from advocates who have ideas on how the city can do better to support its vulnerable Latino populations.

Friday, January 18, 2019 in The Philadelphia Inquirer

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