ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – One night every January, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires a count of the nation’s homeless people.
The official results of the count will not be made public until later this year. Rebecca Rathmell, who works for the Southern Tier Homeless Coalition, can’t share the exact numbers from this year’s count until they’re approved by HUD. However, there is one statistic that she can talk about.
“We’re actually seeing the biggest increases,” Rathmell said, “in the number of families who are facing homelessness. So, typically that would look like a young single mom with 2 or 3 young children.”
Rathmell blames increased homelessness on a shortage of affordable housing. When these mothers seek stable housing, Rathmell says they face several obstacles.
“If she’s looking for work,” Rathmell explained, “there’s the barrier of transportation and child care that goes on top of even being able to identify housing that’s affordable. So, I really thing that affordability piece is the driving factor.”
The Coalition is responsible for the count in 6 counties — Cortland, Chenango, Delaware, Tioga, Broome and Otsego.