MHP has surveyed the latest tools and articles to locate those that might be of interest to MHP Connect readers. This month's resources include Wilder's release of data on Minnesota's homeless population, a snapshot of Minnesota's homeless trends, a guide on how to get affordable housing and utility stakeholders to work together, a survey that shows positive attitudes toward rental housing, and a study that explains how the housing crisis contributed to the widening racial wealth gap.
Characteristics and trends of people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota
Every three years, the Wilder Foundation conducts Minnesota's preeminent study of homelessness data. Wilder recently released the second round of data from its most recent conducted on a single day in October 2012. This data examines the characteristics and trends of people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota. The data reveals that African Americans and American Indians are disproportionately affected; over half of homeless women have experienced violence or sexual exploitation; and the most common reason adults left their last housing was because they could not afford it. Stay tuned for more data from Wilder in the upcoming weeks.
The State of Homelessness in America 2013
Each January, communities across the United States conduct comprehensive point-in-time counts of families and individuals experiencing homelessness. The data is then disseminated by the National Alliance to End Homelessness in an annual report, "The State of Homelessness in America." In Minnesota, between 2011 and 2012, chronic and veteran homeless populations decreased by 17.1% and 31.2% (the largest reduction of any state), respectively, but the overall homeless population increased by 3.3%. The unsheltered homeless population (i.e. places not meant for human habitation) increased by 7%.
In December 2010, the National Housing Trust (NHT) began engaging with utilities and other stakeholders in Minnesota (along with Rhode Island, Maryland, and Pennsylvania) to advance multifamily energy efficiency programs. Why? Because low-income renters benefit through lower utility bills. This Action Guide draws on the lessons learned to help affordable housing and utility stakeholders work together to ensure that utility-funded energy efficiency programs appropriately serve the affordable multifamily housing sector. Kudos to Minnesota Housing, Minnesota Green Communities, Southwest Minnesota Housing Partnership, the public utility commission, and the Division of Energy Resources for their contributions.
The How Housing Matters Survey was conducted by Hart Research Associates to examine how Americans view housing in the aftermath of the housing crisis and how housing matters to their communities. 69% of Democrats, 65% of Independents and 62% of Republicans believe the "focus of our housing policy should be fairly equally split on rental housing and housing for people to own." While most renters still aspire to be homeowners, renting has become more appealing. Nearly half of current owners (45%) can see themselves renting at some point in the future. It appears that, overall, Americans' attitudes toward rental housing are favorable.
Housing Found to be Large Contributing Factor to Racial Wealth Gap
A new study from the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University studied study traced the wealth of 1,700 families between 1984 and 2009, and found that the wealth gap by race increased from $85,000 in 1984 to $236,500 in 2009. The gap is largely attributed to the loss of wealth tied to housing during the housing market collapse and the foreclosure crisis. Overall, half the wealth of African-American families was lost during the Great Recession.