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New Gallup Survey Finds Half of Los Angeles Area Residents Have Taken in a Near-Homeless Person, One-Third Fear Homelessness Themselves

Strong Majority View Lack of Affordable Housing as a Major Cause

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- A new Gallup survey released today reveals that homelessness is no longer an isolated phenomenon relegated only to the poorer quarters of Los Angeles. In fact, according to the survey released this morning by the Fannie Mae Foundation and United Way of Greater Los Angeles, half of people in Los Angeles said that they had taken in a friend or relative who would have otherwise become homeless. One third of Los Angeles residents who responded to the survey say there has been a time that they personally were worried that they may not have a place to live. In Los Angeles, fear of homelessness is greater than in the country as a whole -- 28% of Americans indicate they were at one point concerned that they may not have a place to live.

More than nine in ten Los Angeles area residents (92%) believe more effort is needed across the nation to address the issue of homelessness, and 72% of people polled in Los Angeles agree that many homeless people could get back on their feet and become self-sufficient if only they could receive proper housing.

The high cost of living in Los Angeles causes people to be concerned that they or their families may become homeless. Almost half (48%) of people in Los Angeles worry that medical expenses could cause them to become homeless, followed by a job loss, unemployment or insufficient income (42%) and the price of housing (41%) as causes of concern.

While homelessness is a problem that businesses, communities and individuals can make an impact in mitigating, the role of government in making an impact is perhaps most crucial. In fact, 51% of people in Los Angeles surveyed felt that the city or local government should take a major supporting role in finding a way to reduce homelessness, while a quarter said that the city should take the lead role. Among the cities polled, Los Angeles residents are the most skeptical about the local response to homelessness. Only 10% of Los Angeles residents feel that we as a community are doing a "very good job" in dealing with homelessness. Forty-five percent (45%) feel that we are doing "a good job, but more effort is needed," while a quarter said we are doing "a poor job."

Angelenos overwhelmingly support building more housing for the homeless -- 83% of Los Angeles residents agree with the statement, "my community should construct more affordable housing to serve all its citizens." The survey also reveals that 54% of Los Angeles area residents indicate lack of affordable housing is a major cause contributing to homelessness, and 41% believe home foreclosures are a major factor.

Also, residents of Los Angeles are willing to invest their time and resources toward addressing homelessness. 84% say they would make donations to organizations that are working with homeless people, 73% say they would volunteer at an organization that helps the homeless, 64% say they would volunteer to work directly with homeless people, and 58% say the would pay additional taxes to fund programs to help the homeless.

"Clearly, as the Gallup survey shows us, the issue of homelessness is highly important to the people of Greater Los Angeles," said Elise Buik, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Los Angeles. "That's why United Way and the Fannie Mae Foundation are raising awareness and funds this coming Saturday with HomeWalk, our first annual family 5K walk at Exposition Park. We invite everyone who cares about this critical issue to bring your family and friends and learn how to address poverty and homelessness in our community."

Through Gallup, the Fannie Mae Foundation also polled people in the seven other cities that partnered with the Fannie Mae Foundation to raise awareness and funds through the Foundation's 20th annual Help the Homeless Walkathon on November 17. This year, the Fannie Mae Foundation's Help the Homeless Program has expanded to include Atlanta, Boston, Charlotte, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. Each of these cities has engaged organizations and civic leaders to help address the unique issues surrounding homelessness in their local communities.

A general population survey of 1002 adults, also released today, was conducted by Gallup, Inc. from September 4 through October 17, 2007 with a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points. The city-specific survey of 3216 adults (approximately 400 in each metropolitan statistical area for each of 8 cities, including Los Angeles) was fielded by Gallup during the same time period as the national survey, September 4 through October 17, 2007. The margin of error for each of the eight cities under study is plus or minus five percentage points.

For more information including the full poll reports, please visit

United Way of Greater Los Angeles is a nonprofit organization that creates pathways out of poverty by focusing on meeting basic needs, improving educational achievement and increasing financial stability for the most vulnerable in our community. Through its research work, United Way identifies the issues and works in partnership with community leaders and supporters to solve them by funding targeted programs and advocating for change. For more information, visit

For more information on the Los Angeles area Help the Homeless events visit

Contact: David Langness - 310-566-3621

Taulene Ayoub - 213-808-6436

SOURCE United Way of Greater Los Angeles
Copyright©2007 PR Newswire.
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