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Hardship in America, 2013: Homelessness Remains High and Affordable Housing Is Increasingly Scarce

Six years after the Great Recession began, the number of homeless families with children remains stubbornly high. And the number of low-income households with unmet needs for housing assistance -- especially families with children -- has soared. Funding cuts under sequestration threaten to halt progress against homelessness and worsen the shortage of affordable housing.

Let's first look at the homelessness data:

Hardship in America, 2013: SNAP Helps Many Afford an Adequate Diet

As many Americans celebrate Thanksgiving by sharing an elaborate meal with friends and family, it's important to remember that many other Americans lack the resources to meet their basic food needs. The share of American households that had trouble affording adequate food at some point in the year jumped in 2008 due to the recession and has remained high (see graph). More than 17 million households, containing 49 million people, were "food insecure" last year.

Hardship in America, 2013: Unemployment Benefits for Long-Term Jobless Set to Expire

The slow economic recovery continues to take a toll on workers. The share of the population with a job, which hit 62.7 percent at the start of the Great Recession in December 2007, has remained below 60 percent since early 2009 and dropped to 58.3 percent in October.

Many jobless workers -- 4.1 million people, or 36.1 percent of the unemployed -- are now considered "long-term unemployed," having searched for work for 27 weeks or longer (see chart).

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