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Homelessness a Growing Issue in Fargo-Moorhead - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Homelessness a Growing Issue in Fargo-Moorhead

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Homelessness is a growing issue facing many in the Fargo-Moorhead area according to a new report released Friday by the Fargo-Moorhead Coalition for Homeless Persons.

The survey conducted by Wilder Research found on a single night within the past year, 874 people were homeless in the F-M area and one-third of them were children.

Homelessness has more than doubled between adults and children in Fargo between 2000 and 2012, but the survey also revealed some progress in Moorhead's fight against poverty. 

"The trends are a little different in Fargo than they are in Moorhead," explains senior research manager Greg Owen. "In Fargo, we see an increase particularly in single men, whereas in Moorhead the numbers are flat.

"Moorhead kind of bucks the trend as a whole because the numbers went up about 8-15 percent depending on what community you're talking about, but Moorhead numbers have stayed flat," Owen goes on to say.

Here are some of the key findings noted in the report:

  • One-night count of homeless up 15% from 2009. On October 25, 2012, there were 458 people (211 men, 129 women, 118 children) in temporary housing programs, including emergency shelters and transitional housing programs in the F-M area. The survey also identified 416 people in informal and unsheltered locations.
  • The majority of homeless adults are men. In 2012, men made up the majority of the homeless adults in the Fargo-Moorhead area (68% in Fargo and 62% in Moorhead).THe average age of homeless men was 44 in both cities. The average age of homeless women was 39 in Moorhead and 36 in Fargo.
  • The border between the two cities is fluid. Of homeless persons interviewed in Fargo on the night of the survey, 50 percent lived in North Dakota for two years or less. Of those recent residents, 38 percent came to North Dakota from Minnesota, and 30 percent lived in North Dakota before. Of homeless persons interviewed in Moorhead on the night of the survey, 46 percent lived in Minnesota for two years or less. Of those recent residents, 37 percent came to Minnesota from North Dakota, and 37 percent had lived in Minnesota before.
  • Area homeless are disproportionately people of color, especially American Indians. The homeless population contains a disproportionate number of persons of color, particularly American Indians (18% for Fargo and 27% for Moorhead). While less than 15 percent of Minnesota's and 10 percent of North Dakota's overall population is made up of persons of color, over three in ten Fargo-Moorhead homeless adults are persons of color (35% in Fargo and 50% in Moorhead).
  • Fargo has a larger population of homeless veterans than Moorhead and larger than most communities in Minnesota. On the date of the survey, military veterans made up one-quarter of all homeless persons in Fargo and about one-tenth (12%) in Moorhead. veterans were 32 percent of homeless males in Fargo and about 20 percent of homeless males in Moorhead.
  • One-quarter to one-third of homeless women are homeless because of domestic violence, childhood abuse is common. One Common reason for women to seek temporary shelter is to flee an abusive partner. About one-quarter (23%) of homeless women interviewed in Fargo (26%) and over one-third (35%) in Moorhead indicated that one of the main reasons for leaving their last housing was to flee abuse. Over one-third (34%) of homeless adults in Fargo (30% of men and 44% of women) and 39 percent in Moorhead (27% of men and 57% percent of women) reported physical mistreatment as children. One-fifth (20%) in Fargo (11% of men and 40% of women) and over one-quarter (28%) in Moorhead (15% of men and 49% of women) reported that they were sexually mistreated as children.

Children represent 17% of the homeless population in Fargo and Moorhead.

In Fargo, 46 homeless parents had children with them. Ten parents (22%) reported having a child with an emotional or behavioral problem. Of the 25 parents with school-age children, 14 (56%) reported that at least one of their school-age children as some type of learning or school related problem, 10 parents (40%) reported that their child was a victim of bullying, and four parents (16%) reported having a child that had to repeat a grade in school.

In Moorhead, 30 homeless parents had children with them. Twelve parents (40%) reported having a child with an emotional or behavioral problem. Of the 22 parents with school-age children, 17 (77%) reported that at least one of their school-age children has some type of learning or school-related problem, 11 parents (50%) reported that their child was a victim of bullying, and four parents (16%) reported having a child that had a repeat a grade in school.

Of the women interviewed in Fargo, one-quarter (27%) had at least one child with them at the time of the survey. In Moorhead, one-third (33%) of women interviewed had at least one child with them on the night of the survey.

In Fargo, 15 (33%) of the homeless parents reported they were unable to obtain needed child care. In Moorhead, three (10%) of the homeless parents reported they were unable to obtain needed childcare.

Five (11%) parents in Fargo and four (13%) in Moorhead reported their children had to skip meals in the last month because their was not enough money to buy food.

The report says a major contributor to homelessness in the F-M area continues to be a lack of affordable housing.

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