At the recent annual California Alliance for Information and Referral Services (CAIRS) conference in Los Angeles, we learned that, like 211 Nevada County, many 211s are seeing steadily increasing calls from people who are without homes or who are on the verge of homelessness. At first glance, one might be surprised by this trend. These statistics are at odds with the reported economic turnaround.
Or are they?
A recent article in The New York Times presents a picture of uneven recovery, based on the Federal Reserve’s recently
released Survey of Consumer Finances. While the upper-tier wage earners (median income $230K+) saw their incomes increase between 2010 and 2013, the majority of Americans—those who rely on wages and not investment income—experienced a sharp decline in income. Young families, seniors, and those without a college education were hit the hardest.
In the 211 world, this means an increase in demand for basic needs such as food and shelter, as individuals and families try to make ends meet. In September, five of our top ten call referrals were to programs that assist with shelter and food. The top website search was for energy assistance. These numbers paint a picture of a community struggling to get by.
We’re interested in hearing from you. Have you noticed friends, family-members, or other community members struggling to stay on their feet? Do you feel like the economic crisis is coming to an end? How can we begin to address some of these issues in our own community?
Add your own story in our comments section. We look forward to hearing from you.