Startling homelessness puts another face on poverty in latest 2x4 Report

There continues to be a startling increase in numbers of children and families in the Twin Cities finding themselves without a home, according to the latest MHP “2 x 4” Report. The report echoes the alarm sounded by newly released national data indicating a continuing increase in poverty in 2010.

The national data found poverty was up nationwide for the third consecutive year, reaching 15.1% in 2010. Ongoing unemployment has not helped matters. As of June 2011, the average unemployed worker had been out of work for over 9 months.

The impact continues to be felt among the most vulnerable here in Minnesota, according to the "2x4" report. In the second quarter, the number of homeless families in Hennepin County shelters increased 21% since last year and doubled since 2006. In addition, St. Paul and Minneapolis public schools combined identified 8% more kids as homeless in the 2010-11 school year than the year before.

hennepin county shelter data 06 11

The situation may get worse before it gets better. Twin Cities rental vacancy rates fell to 2.4%, the lowest in a decade. In this tight market, rents are likely to rise. Yet low-income families already struggle to pay rent. In 2009, 58% of Minnesota renter households with incomes below $50,000 paid more than 30% of their income for housing, a level considered too high, according to HUD.

marquette rental vacancies

Source: Marquette Advisors 

Data from the second quarter of 2011 finds:
  •  8,200 school children were identified as homeless by Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools for the 2010-11 school year, up 8% from the year before. In Hennepin County, the number of homeless families seeking shelter has doubled since 2006 for the quarter.
  •  Vacancies in the Twin Cities rental market fell to 2.4%, the lowest in a decade.
  •  In brighter news, mortgage delinquencies fell to 5.6%, and pre-foreclosure notices were down, though foreclosures themselves rose compared to last quarter. Many more foreclosures are still in the pipeline.
  • Monthly employment in residential housing construction averaged only 8,200 workers, a 19-year low for the time of year in Minnesota.
You can read more about these housing trends in the 2011 "2x4" Report, Quarter 2. Please feel free to comment below.

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