The Washington-based U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) has released its "2008 Status Report on Hunger & Homelessness," and, once again, the survey shows an increase in the demand for emergency food assistance and in homelessness in participating communities.

On average, 12 percent of the 20 responding cities reported an increase in homelessness from 2007 to 2008, and 16 cities reported an increase in the number of homeless families. A lack of affordable housing, poverty and unemployment were cited as the primary causes of homelessness and hunger, and 12 cities said the foreclosure crisis was contributing to the increase in homelessness.

Read the Dec. 16, 2008, daily news article, "USCM homelessness/hunger survey shows continuing increase in need," for more information.