The face of the homeless in Chattanooga is getting younger

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    The number of homeless families in Chattanooga has more than doubled in the last year.

    While the numbers of families slipping into homelessness is rising all across the country, it is always alarming to see these statistics play out in your own community, Mary Simons, executive director of the Chattanooga Regional Homeless Coalition, said.

    "According to our Point In Time (PIT) count in January 2011, which is a 24-hour count of everyone who is homeless whether they are on the street, in a shelter or group housing, we know that family homelessness has doubled. This is a terrible thing to see in our community," Simons said.

    According to an eight page report published by the National Alliance to End Homelessness, new evidence based on increased poverty and future economic trends estimates that homelessness in the U.S. could increase by 5%, or 74,000 people, in the next three years.

    Brookings scholar Isabell Sawhill estimates that by 2014, the "Great Recession" will have added an additional 10 million people to the ranks of the poor, six million of them children.

    Mary Ellen Galloway, with the Interfaith Homeless Network (IHN) in Chattanooga, said she believes most people are simply not aware how rapidly this category of homelessness is growing in the Chattanooga area.

    "Because people don't see homeless families as much as single men and women who are homeless. So the assumption is that family homelessness doesn't exist. But nothing could be further from the truth," Galloway said.

    read more The face of the homeless in Chattanooga is getting younger | Nooga.com
     

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