Despite a deep recession driven by a housing bust, the National Alliance to End Homelessness estimates that homelessness dropped by 17 percent from 2005 to 2012. This is astonishing news, right? So why aren't politicians trumpeting this decline?
From President George W. Bush’s "housing first" program to President Obama's Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program, federal initiatives have been remarkably successful in reducing homelessness. "The decline of homelessness over the past eight years is nothing short of a blue-moon public policy triumph," writes Stephen Lurie. "Why don’t you know about it?"
"Could it be because we’d prefer not to hear about it?" he asks. "In the next few years, as Washington looks to cut spending across the board, the public’s aversion to homelessness could contribute to its return."
"As quietly as homelessness has fallen, so too it will go up quietly – unless there is major intervention," Lurie cautions. "The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that sequestration cuts from homelessness programs are set to expel 100,000 people from a range of housing and shelter programs this year. That’s nearly one sixth of the current total homeless population. Far from gently raising the homeless rate, it would undo a full decade of progress."
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This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.