While circumstances can vary, the main reason people experience homelessness is because they cannot find housing they can afford. It is the scarcity of affordable housing in the United States, particularly in more urban areas where homelessness is more prevalent, that is behind their inability to acquire or maintain housing.
By the numbers:
These numbers come from point-in-time counts, which are conducted, community by community, on a single night in January every other year. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires communities to submit this data every other year in order to qualify for federal homeless assistance funds. Many communities conduct counts more regularly.
The State of Homelessness in America 2014 is the fourth in a series of reports that chart progress in ending homelessness in the U.S. It examines trends in homelessness between 2012 and 2013, trends in populations at-risk of homelessness from 2011 to 2012, trends in homeless assistance, and establishes a baseline from which to measure changes in the homeless assistance system. To see the full report click here.