WASHINGTON (CBS DC) — A new report released at the U.S. Conference of Mayors this week shows many cities across the country are seeing spikes in both homelessness and hunger, with the nation’s capital leading the way.
Sixty-six percent of the cities surveyed in the Hunger and Homelessness Survey reported that the number of requests for emergency food assistance increased over the past year, with low wages, poverty, and high housing costs as the top three causes for hunger.
Lack of affordable housing, poverty, unemployment, and low-paying jobs were listed as the main reasons for homelessness.
In the District of Columbia, the number of homeless families saw the biggest spike, with a 60 percent increase from last year. The number of homeless individuals also jumped 28 percent. Both statistics were the highest among cities surveyed.
Washington also led the way for the biggest increase in number of emergency food assistance requests, with a 24 percent rise over last year. Food pantries and emergency kitchens were forced to turn away people due to lack of resources.
“Without question, the nation’s economy is in recovery. However, the slow pace of the recovery has put additional stress on cities and made it much more difficult to respond to the growing needs of hungry and homeless Americans,” said Conference CEO and Executive Director Cochran. “Every year, we report on these challenges and, every year, we reiterate the need for more services and greater capacity to help growing numbers of families in need. This year is no different.”