To assess the status of hunger and homelessness in U.S. cities during the year 2000, the U.S. Conference of Mayors surveyed 25 major cities whose mayors were members of its Task Force on Hunger and Homelessness. The survey sought information and estimates from each city on emergency food supplies and services, the causes of hunger and homelessness, exemplary programs to address these problems, the availability of affordable housing, and the outlook for the future. Officials in the surveyed cities estimate that during the past year requests for emergency food assistance increased by an average of 17%, with 83% of the cities registering an increase. Sixty-two percent of the people requesting emergency food assistance were members of families. Low-paying jobs led the list of identified causes of hunger. Requests for emergency shelter also increased in 76% of the survey cities. Lack of affordable housing led the list of causes of homelessness identified by city officials. Requests for assisted housing increased in 68% of the cities during the year, but applicants had to wait an average of 16 months for public housing. Officials in 71% of the responding cities expected requests for emergency food assistance to increase, and in 72% of the cities, officials expected requests for emergency housing to increase. City officials continued to have mixed views with respect to the effect the current strong economy is having on problems of hunger and homelessness. Many believe that the strong economy will lead to improved conditions, but others say that the strong economy has made things worse by increasing housing costs. Appendixes contain charts of hunger and homelessness and population survey data, the survey questionnaire, and a list of the survey cities and their mayors. (SLD)
Food Assistance Programs
1 - Available on microfiche
United States Conference of Mayors, Washington, DC.