Among the nation’s working families, 10 million are poor.
Twenty-four million U.S. jobs (one-fifth of all jobs) do not keep a family of four out of poverty.
Between 2014 and 2018 the poverty level in Jackson County alone fell 19.4%
Statistics show that more than 6,000 children in the Kansas City metro area are in treatment for serious emotional disorders, and more than 3,000 children are in foster care. The average annual cost associated with untreated mental illness is $624 million.
Income inequality is at the highest levels ever recorded:
Between 2000 and 2019 nearly 16,000 households had income of less than $10,000 a year.
Housing costs outpace wages.
A full-time worker earning minimum wage pays two-thirds of their income for rent alone.
Average wait for public housing is 1 to 3 years, and 35 months for Section 8 Vouchers.
Since 1980, Federal support for low-income housing has been cut in half. Local, state, and federal levels that positively impact affordable housing opportunities for homeless families are central to our advocacy and policy agenda.
- The retention of the Missouri Housing Trust Fund. The fund is a creative, evidence-based approach for additional sources of revenue that meet the housing needs of very low-income families and individuals.
- The retention of federal and state Low Income Housing Tax Credits. The credits are successful and efficient in facilitating rehabilitation and production of affordable housing for low-income families.
- The National Housing Trust Fund is a permanent source of funding, with dedicated resources to close the gap between supply and need for affordable housing for low-income families.
Addressing The Problem
Our work does not occur within a vacuum. Broad societal forces and legislative policies impact what we do and the families we partner with. To truly impact poverty and increase self-sufficiency, it is important for us to identify policies and legislation that we can effectively support or influence as we carry out our mission of ending homelessness in the most effective way possible. The following report intends to do just that.
We have identified policies that impact our work of ending homelessness at federal, state, and local levels. Regardless of where they originated, most are subject to influence and advocacy at all major levels of government. Further, all of the policies have broad consequences across multiple realms of social service organizations, families, and individuals. Thus, each policy accomplishes a little bit of each of the following, but for the purposes of this report, we have categorized policies into three categories that align with our mission: rehousing, stabilizing, and empowering.
Why It’s Important: According to the most recent data from The National Center on Family Homelessness, one in every 45 children in the U.S. experiences homelessness each year—and we expect that number to climb once pandemic-era figures are released. In fact, the Annual homeless Assessment Report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development states that in 2020 “the number of unsheltered people in families with children increased for the first time since data collection began.” This is far from a coast-specific challenge. In Missouri alone, recent data shows that one in 13 children under six experienced homelessness, whether chronic or episodic (U.S. Department of Education). On the Missouri side, there are almost 5,200 homeless students in grades K-12; in the Kansas metro area, there are nearly 2,500 (L.P. Cookingham Institute of Urban Affairs at UMKC).Beyond the primary hurdle of housing the unhoused, ensuring that children exposed to trauma and other risks receive high-quality education is essential to breaking the cycle of poverty and preventing them from experiencing homelessness as adults.
- The Child Care Development Block Grant, which will expand access to early child education for low-income families
- Provisions in the Elementary and Secondary Act (formerly known as No Child Left Behind) that support students experiencing homelessness
- The creation of a funding stream to provide high quality and free Pre-K to all children in Kansas City, Missouri
Why It’s Important: Housing costs out-pace wages. A full-time worker earning minimum wage cannot afford a one-bedroom unit at the fair market rent anywhere in the UU.S. The average wait for public housing is 1-3 years, and the average wait for a Section 8 voucher is 35 months. Federal support for low-income housing has been cut in half since 1980. Policies at the local, state, and federal levels that positively impact affordable housing opportunities for families experiencing homelessness are central to our policy agenda.
- The retention of the Missouri Housing Trust Fund and creative, evidence-based approaches to additional sources of revenue that meet the housing needs of very low-income families and individuals.
- The retention of federal and state low income housing tax credits, as they are a successful and efficient method of facilitating rehabilitation and producing affordable housing for low-income families.
- The National Housing Trust Fund becoming a permanent source of funding, not subject to annual appropriations, to close the gap between supply and need for affordable housing for low-income families.
Why It’s Important: Among the nation’s working families, 10 million are poor. Twenty-four million U.S. jobs (one-fifth of all jobs) do not keep a family of four out of poverty. The federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour leaves even a single full-time wage earner living below the federal poverty line. The latest figures show that 82% of single parent households are headed by mothers only. The poverty rate for single-mother families was nearly 30% in 2018, about six times the rate for married-couple families (U.S. Census Bureau). Fewer than one-third of single mothers receive any child support (The Annie E. Casey Foundation, 2020). Self-sufficiency is dependent upon working a job with wage that can support a family.
- The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) due to its bipartisan support, its incentive to work, and the extra income put back into the hands of low-income families and individuals
To learn more about how Community LINC is addressing the problem, or to see how YOU can help, contact us below.
Trends And The Impact On Our Program
The Housing First model is a PROVEN COST-EFFECTIVE SOLUTION to ending homelessness nationally.
Kansas City Metro Area
In the U.S., over 20 million renter households existed in housing poverty during 2017. Only 35 units per every 100 available for rent were affordable by extremely low income households.
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