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Homelessness on the rise, says new report

Homelessness increased - again - for children and families in Minnesota, according to data in the Minnesota Housing Partnership's (MHP) latest "2 x 4" Report. More unemployed workers are hitting bottom as the months without pay add up.

Last month, a Pew national report found that by the third quarter of 2011, almost a third of America's unemployed workers had been out of work for a year or more. In Minnesota, this trend is reflected in the growing numbers of families and kids falling into homelessness.

Through September of this school year, the St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Duluth public schools combined have identified 27 percent more kids as homeless than in 2008, finds MHP's "2 x 4" Report. Since just last year, 8 percent more kids were found to be homeless.

With the foreclosure crisis leading to higher rental demand, plus limited rental construction, rents are going up, leaving low-income families with fewer options. For the third quarter of 2011, average rents reached a record high of $925 in the Twin Cities metro. Very low rental vacancy rates are likely to lead to additional rent increases.

MHP's "2 x 4" Report graphically depicts 2 sets of indicators for each of 4 key housing areas: the home ownership market, the rental market, homelessness, and the housing industry. Through quarterly updates, the report provides a concise overview of housing challenges facing Minnesota.

For the third quarter of 2011, the housing indicators show that:

Combined, over 3,500 school children were identified as homeless by the Minneapolis, St. Paul, and Duluth public schools through September of the 2011-12 school year.

In Hennepin County, the number of homeless families was the highest since 2000.

Vacancies in the Twin Cities rental market fell to 2.3 percent, the lowest in a decade.

Foreclosures this quarter were the lowest of any quarter since 2007, but more foreclosures are yet to come. About 5.6 percent of Minnesota primary mortgages were at least 60 days delinquent, and pre-foreclosure notices rose compared to last quarter.

The inventory of homes for sale in the Twin Cities metro was a bright spot. The inventory fell slightly to about the 2006 level for the third quarter, and could lead to stabilization of home values.

See the full "2 x 4" Report including graphs, data sources, and analysis at: