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When the Federal Government Ties Homeless Funding to Unemployment Rates

A strong economy can lead to a lack of affordable housing and a lack of affordable housing can lead to higher rates of homelessness. But a stronger economy can also disqualify regions from federal support for homelessness.
September 10, 2019, 10am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Ethan Hickerson

King County, Washington, home to the city of Seattle, no longer qualifies for millions in funding for homelessness services provided by the federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), reports Eilis O'Neill.

"FEMA looks at the unemployment and federal poverty rates to measure which counties get funding. And unemployment in King County dropped this year, so it no longer qualifies," explains O'Neill.

Local advocates and social workers noticed the irony of the situation. "Lauren McGowan, with United Way of King County, said the irony is that the region’s prosperity is helping drive homelessness,' according to O'Neill. The United Way is appealing FEMA's decision.

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Published on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 in KUOW
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