By CEO/Executive Director Laura Gray
Off and on since the beginning of the year, I’ve been setting up our data analysis spreadsheets for 2014. So, I thought I would share some of the trends we were able to see within our world of homeless families.
First, because it’s very good news, we nearly doubled the number of homeless families who left for permanent housing last year.
That translates to 75% leaving able to provide permanent homes for their children. Plus, 97% did not return to homelessness on the streets or shelters.
Less than 1/4 of the adults were employed when they entered the program in 2013. About 2/3 of those who exited were employed. Their average wages increased from $3,600 per year when they entered to $15,000 by the time they exited.
As you might guess, the average wage wasn’t enough to raise a family of three above the federal poverty level. Even with some form of public assistance, the average total income of $16,500 for a household was not enough to reach the poverty level of $19,530 for a family of three.
But, it was encouraging to see nearly 40% of our families leave above the poverty level. That’s the highest level since 2007 when 48% left above poverty. Not surprisingly, more than half of the two parent families but less than a third of the one parent families left above poverty.
What the data tells us is exactly what we read about the economic recovery. Things are getting better… slowly. But, it’s slower for those at the bottom of the economic ladder.