For single adults in our shelters we have definitely seen an increase in numbers. The number at our weekly lottery has been steadily increasing. As of the end of the 3rd quarter we had served almost the same number of people in both our shelters as we had in all in 2007. The most significant things we have noticed about the population, is that some of the people we’ve helped move into housing are coming back after job losses. When the economy struggles, often the folks we serve are the first to lose their jobs, or have a harder time finding work. Also, our shelter director, Brian, says that he’s been seeing a lot more folks that are homeless for the first time ever coming to the lottery.
As far as families, we have seen a huge increase in shelter use in the past year. The number of families we turn away from our housing programs continues to vary between 50 and 70 families each week. We have experienced an increase in Native American and Latino families, and an increase in large families (families with more than 4 children). Initially we saw a lot of families who were renters whose landlords had lost their property to foreclosure thus making the family lose housing; however, lately we’ve had more families call who were homeowners that have been foreclosed upon.