Break it down:
..."...Unemployment and underemployment are the leading causes of hunger, the report said, with high housing costs, medical costs, substance abuse and high utility costs also playing a role.
How many Homeless are receiving SSI or SSD or both SSD/SSI?
Plenty of MEDICAL coverage comes with all 3 of those options. Plenty of guarranteed monthly CASH benefits come with those options. Free Food Kitchen outlets and Food Stamps usually come with those options. People choosing to live in shelters, and in furnished rooms usually have low or no Utility Costs nor Rental fees.
What is left?---SUBSTANCE abuse costs--of course.. Those aren't free yet. Homeless people still have to work to purchase those necessities of life.
There are 2 things going on here.
1) This year's data will be skewed by multiple hurricane events. Not all of the funding for the hurricane relief necessarily goes through fema or red cross.
2) This is a game that cities play. They inflate the numbers a little more everytime they make a federal request for funding. They want a little extra "just in case" and if some of that money gets "lost" and shows up in some entertainment account, so much the better for the city administrators.
As probably the only Freeper to have founded a Food Bank and been President of a Food Bank board of directors, I have to disagree with you. Recipients of SSI and SSD are not eligible for Food Stamps.
"Free Food Kitchens" do not "come with" those options. Food Kitchens, Dining Rooms, Food Banks, are private charities, not government programs, although they may receives some government grants.
Most people in shelters DO NOT CHOOSE to live there. Statistics show that most homeless do not stay that way. They use the shelters and get housing.
I know, I kept the records and did the statistics for a Food Bank that served over 100,000 people every year... and we tracked that kind of information.
There is a small group of the homeless (about 7%) who choose that lifestyle (they were once called hoboes). Three of them, Butch, Jim and his twin brother Sam, chose to live on the Delta west of Stockton. They are all Viet-nam veterans. They did itenerant labor, slept outdoors under a bridge, and got around on bicycles. They came to our Food Bank occasionally but we always knew they would show up when it was raining... to help unload our trucks because they liked the rain, and knew our volunteers didn't. Butch came in the week after Easter to tell us that Sam had been hit and killed instantly by a hit-and-run driver while bicycling to an odd job on Easter Sunday. Just a week later it was raining and Butch and Sam showed up to unload our trucks in the rain.
Those who choose to be homeless are the rareties. Most homeless people are homeless because of unfortunately circumstances. That includes those I call the "walking wounded," which include the mentally ill and substance abusers... these will always be there because we cannot cure the substance abusers until THEY want to change and we cannot treat the mentally ill because of the ACLU and their ilk who prevent them from being institutionalized.
Many of the homeless I have met are homeless for only a month or two... and generally are there because they were evicted because they couldn't meet the rent on time. Many of them were children under 10 years old, homeless because their families got evicted. Try to rent another apartment or house when your landlord keeps your security deposit, the rent you paid is 3/4s of your income and the new place's management wants first and last months rent AND another security deposit. It ain't easy.
Why didn't they pay the rent on time? Here are some of the reasons: Mom lost her 2nd job. Dad got sick and the his employer doesn't offer sick-leave. The car Dad and Mom need to get to work broke down and HAD to be fixed so they could work. Death in the family and funeral costs. Fire in the apartment complex. Flood. The welfare worker for the single Mom and her three children went on vacation without completing her application for assistance. A student mother's Food Stamps that fed her and her kids were docked because she received a Pell Grant to go to school and she HAD to buy food from money ear-marked for the rent. The work car got confiscated because their insurance lapsed because they had to pay the rent last month.
Furnished rooms... That's a "flop house", and the rents usually are close to what you could rent a two bedroom apartment for IF the renter were creditworthy. You should see some of the "furnished rooms" that are available to the indigent. As to medical coverage... SSD recipients only qualify for Medicare after TWO YEARS on the meager income of SSD. Same for SSI recipients.
I would like to see YOU survive on the "Plenty of guaranteed monthly CASH benefits". The rents for a ONE bedroom apartment in this area start at $625 per month... just about equal to the cash benefit of SSD and SSI for many of the recipients. OK, that covers the rent. Now, how do they pay the utility bill? Clothing? FOOD?
The demand for emergency food is DOWN this year... contrary to what I see many other food banks claiming. Funding is always better if you can cry doom and gloom. . . but the MSM only gets on board when there is a Republican in the Oval Office!