More than two decades ago, the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness (ICPH) was founded to explore the impact of homelessness on families, and especially children, in New York City. Since then, the scope of ICPH’s mission has expanded from one city to the entire United States. What began in 1998 as a report on homelessness in ten cities around the country has led to this publication, The American Almanac of Family Homelessness, exploring the issue across all 50 states.
This Almanac is the result of three years of intensive review and evaluation, resulting in a comprehensive resource that presents data, policy analysis, and model programs and policies at the national, state, and local levels. It examines not only what we know about family homelessness, but also what we do not know, in order to both encourage the greater use of evidence-based practices and improve data collection.
The causes of homelessness are varied and complex, and its effects on children and their parents can be devastating. Fortunately, there are a variety of service models and housing solutions being utilized around the country to not only prevent the occurrence of homelessness, but also mitigate its impact. Unfortunately, we continue to struggle to link each family to the services that best fit its needs. The purpose of this publication is to present relevant information and analysis that will help providers, policymakers, and researchers to serve families most effectively.
Homeless families have many champions across the country. We would like to take this opportunity to thank the countless providers, government officials, and advocates who aided us over the course of our research. Throughout the Almanac, we have utilized data and insight from state and local stakeholders to supplement publicly available federal sources and documents. Their assistance was essential to understanding the ways in which the needs and challenges of homeless families differ by locality and how providers can successfully tailor programs to their unique environments.
We hope that you will find the Almanac a useful tool in whatever capacity you serve homeless families with children. Together, we can make sure that every child has a safe, stable home and a path to a brighter future. (author abstract)