The Homeless Research Institute, the research and education arm of The National Alliance to End Homelessness, today released its annual report on changes in the levels of homelessness around the nation.
Navarra Williams, president and CEO of SAMMinistries, says, “Obviously, the report states that the downturn in the economy from 2008 to 2009 greatly increased the number of homeless across the nation. Increases in unemployment and foreclosures were huge drivers of homelessness, and particularly households with children.”
While Texas has fared much better than other states around the nation, the state’s unemployment rate still increased by 60 percent and unemployment is a big factor in homelessness. The report also states that while foreclosures in Texas remained relatively low compared to the national average, they increased by four percent.
Williams adds, “Sadly, the report also states that families with children becoming homeless in Texas increased an astonishing 16 percent statewide between 2008 and 2009.
“While these numbers are devastating, they tell us that we are on the right course with our SAMMinistries Prevent Homelessness program which targets families with children. We assist families who are at risk of becoming homeless with interventions such as the rental assistance program that provides for rent and utilities,” he says.Williams adds that SAMMinistries is seeing this increase in families needing shelter through its Residential Gateway for Services Program. “Family occupancy at our emergency residences at Haven For Hope are at capacity, and families are being moved into the women’s residences to meet the need,” he says.
Interestingly enough, while the report paints a dire picture, in Texas there are some positives to report. The general population of homelessness decreased by eight and one half percent; the chronic homeless numbers declined by 31 percent, and the unsheltered population decreased by six percent statewide.
However, Williams cautioned, “As states face further budget cuts and more people become homeless, funding for key federal programs will become ever more critical.”
SAMMinistries, an interfaith ministry dedicated to helping the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless, was launched in 1983. The ministry is ready to assist over 1200
individuals including more than 300 children every day of the year with emergency services, transitional and supportive housing, as well as an after-care program.
SAMMinistries is a leading agency in homeless prevention and in fiscal 2010 over 1,000 families were assisted and avoided becoming homeless.
Last year the agency cared for more than 4,400 individuals and provided more than 258,673 bed nights of shelter and services to the area’s homeless. Visit