A Librarian at the Kitchen Table. No. 421.
More Americans went homeless and hungry in 2006 than the year before and children made up almost a quarter of those in emergency shelters, according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors - Sodexho, Inc. Hunger and Homelessness Survey.
"The face of hunger and homelessness right now ... is young children, young families," said the conference's president, Douglas Palmer, the mayor of Trenton, New Jersey.
The survey of 23 cities found civic and government groups received, on average, 7 percent more requests for food aid in 2006 than in 2005, following a 12 percent jump in 2005.
Requests for shelter rose by an average of 9 percent in 2006, with requests from families with children rising by 5 percent. More than half the cities said family members often had to split up to stay in different shelters.
As the numbers who could not buy their own food grew, more than half the cities, including Los Angeles and Boston, said groups spread resources farther by giving less food to individuals or cutting the number of times people could receive help. The group estimated 23 percent of requests for emergency food assistance simply went unmet.
Franklin Cownie, the mayor of Des Moines, Iowa, who worked on the study, said he was troubled that more than a third of the adults asking for food aid were employed.
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