Many leading U.S. cities are seeing a sharp rise in family homelessness and demand for food assistance, according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Nineteen cities, or 76 percent of the communities surveyed, said there has been an increase in homeless families during the last year while homelessness among individuals has declined or held steady in 16 cities.

The recession and lack of affordable housing are cited as the top reasons for the rise in the number of homeless families. The decline in individual homelessness is attributed to cities adopting 10-year plans to end chronic homelessness.

Eighteen cities, or 72 percent of the respondents, reported that the Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will fundamentally change the way their community provides services to the homeless. Cities report using HPRP funding to develop central intake systems for services, coordinate services more closely with surrounding areas, or offer prevention assistance for the first time.

The annual mayors’ report also reveals that on average the need for emergency food assistance jumped by 26 percent from last year.

To see the Hunger and Homelessness Survey, visit