Watch CBS News

Survey: Homelessness, Hunger Rose In Chicago In 2013


CHICAGO (CBS) -- Homelessness and hunger rose slightly in Chicago in 2013, according to an annual survey by the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Chicago was one of 25 cities surveyed about demand for emergency services.

Overall, 71 percent of those cities reported a rise in demand for emergency food assistance, which went up 1.2 percent in Chicago last year.

Among families, the number of homeless remained steady, while the number of homeless individuals rose 5 percent.

Breaking down the numbers, 33 percent of Chicago's homeless are mentally ill, 23 percent are victims of domestic violence, 13 percent hold jobs, and 9 percent are veterans.

Richard Cho, senior policy director for the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, said the agency has focused special attention on making sure there are no longer any veterans sleeping on the streets.

"Should any veteran become homeless, or be at risk of becoming homeless, communities will have the capacity to quickly connect them to the help they need to achieve housing stability," he said.

In 82 percent of the cities that responded to the survey, emergency kitchens and food pantries were forced to cut back on the amount of food they could give out to each person. In 77 percent of the cities, they had to reduce the number of times a person or family could visit. Also, in 77 percent of the cities, food pantries and soup kitchens had to turn people away, due to a lack of resources.

Statistics in the survey showed the leading cause of hunger is low wages. The U.S. Conference of Mayors said it is optimistic that, as Chicago and other cities adopt a higher minimum wage, the problem of hunger will ease.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.