Homeless numbers hide shifting demographics

A Mighty Flood of Justice

The Capitol Journal reported  yesterday on a recent survey on homelessness in South Dakota. On the surface, the numbers are encouraging: while there are 1,166 homeless individuals, including 336 children, in the state, that’s down 26 percent from 2011. However, some deeper digging reveals some troubling trends:

The majority surveyed reported being homeless for the first time, with main reasons being they couldn’t afford rent, had lost a job or had substance abuse issuesThe survey also suggested most homeless people in the state are holding jobs but not earning enough to keep a roof over their heads.

However, [Lisa] Bondy [statewide coordinator of the South Dakota Housing for Homeless Consortium] said the survey numbers are soft, as they only represent willing people who could be surveyed that day. The rural areas are especially problematic as there are few shelters and homelessness is less visible.

The most surprising…

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