With New Year Comes Old Problems; Ralph da Costa Nunez, President of the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness Comments on the State of Homelessness in the United States

Jan 11, 2011, 13:41 ET from Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness

NEW YORK, Jan. 11, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A leading expert in the field of homelessness, Dr. Ralph da Costa Nunez has appeared on radio and television and written several opinion pieces for newspapers such as the New York Times and Websites like Huffington Post.

Dr. Nunez has served as President of the Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness since the organization's founding in 1997. He has also served as President and CEO of Homes for the Homeless, a leading transitional housing and social services provider, since 1987. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University, where he also serves as a professor. He is the editor of the Journal of Children & Poverty and publisher of Uncensored, a magazine that chronicles American family experiences with poverty and homelessness. He has authored six books, including his latest A Shelter is not a Home . . . or is it? REVISITED.

Prior to ICPH, Dr. Nunez worked in New York City and State government. He was the Deputy Director under Mayor Koch for the Mayor's Office of Homeless and SRO Housing Services, overseeing policies and services administered by all city agencies serving the homeless population. He also served at the Human Resources Administration, with the Mayor's Youth Bureau, the New York State Office of Mental Health, and the Legislative Office of Budget Review.

"What most people do not know is that the fastest growing segment of the homeless population today are families with children and your typical homeless person in the United States today is a child," said Dr. Nunez, during a recent radio interview.

"I think what you're seeing in the United States is the beginning of what we will call a notch-down generation. A generation of people that are now experiencing a change in their lifestyle, for the worse, not the better. A standard of living change that could be institutionalized for at least a generation to go. That's how bad I think things are," said Dr. Nunez, during a recent interview with BBC World News television.

With the start of the new year, many cities are preparing to conduct homeless counts. These counts are a point-in-time survey that is intended to help regional governments understand the causes of homelessness and provide financial assistance. The US Department of Housing and Urban Development requires biennial point-in-time counts to determine the number of homeless families with children, both in shelters and on the street.

Furthermore, the United States Conference of Mayors released the 2010 Hunger and Homelessness Survey in late December. The study found that the number of families experiencing homelessness rose an average 9% while the number of unaccompanied individuals experiencing homelessness rose by 2%. These findings have sparked debate over initiatives to end homelessness, what works and what is ineffectual.

Note: Dr. Nunez is available for interviews with your organization via phone or through a New York City affiliate.

The Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness (ICPH) is an independent non-profit research organization based in New York City. ICPH studies the impact of poverty on family and child well being and generates research that will enhance public policies and programs affecting poor or homeless children and their families. Specifically, ICPH examines the condition of extreme poverty in the United States and its effect on educational attainment, housing, employment, child welfare, domestic violence, and family wellness. Please visit our Web site for more information, www.icphusa.org

SOURCE Institute for Children, Poverty, and Homelessness