Sunday, September 12, 2010, The New York Times reported on what we are seeing every day here in Dallas and across the nation. Times are tough for families. Central Dallas Ministries (CDM) has been involved in engaging an increasing number of families in danger of becoming homeless, more families this year than any year in our history.
The City of Dallas received funding from the federal stimulus program to bring the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program to the community. CDM, thanks to our effectiveness in getting the housing dollars out, recently received a second allocation of funds to help pay rent and utilities for families in distress.
Here's the Times report:
Number of Families in Shelters Rises
DENCE, R.I. — For a few hours at the mall here this month, Nick Griffith, his wife, Lacey Lennon, and their two young children got to feel like a regular family again.
Never mind that they were just killing time away from the homeless shelter where they are staying, or that they had to take two city buses to get to the shopping center because they pawned one car earlier this year and had another repossessed, or that the debit card Ms. Lennon inserted into the A.T.M. was courtesy of the state’s welfare program.
They ate lunch at the food court, browsed for clothes and just strolled, blending in with everyone else out on a scorching hot summer day. “It’s exactly why we come here,” Ms. Lennon said. “It reminds us of our old life.”
For millions who have lost jobs or faced eviction in the economic downturn, homelessness is perhaps the darkest fear of all. In the end, though, for all the devastation wrought by the recession, a vast majority of people who have faced the possibility have somehow managed to avoid it.
Nevertheless, from 2007 through 2009, the number of families in homeless shelters — households with at least one adult and one minor child — leapt to 170,000 from 131,000, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.
With long-term unemployment ballooning, those numbers could easily climb this year. Late in 2009, however, states began distributing $1.5 billion that has been made available over three years by the federal government as part of the stimulus package for the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program, which provides financial assistance to keep people in their homes or get them back in one quickly if they lose them.
More than 550,000 people have received aid, including more than 1,800 in Rhode Island, with just over a quarter of the money for the program spent so far nationally, state and federal officials said.
To read the entire report click here.