Homelessness in the United States

Snapshot of Homelessness

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:

  • In January 2014, there were 578,424 people experiencing homelessness on any given night in the United States.
  • Of that number, 216,197 are people in families, and
  • 362,163 are individuals.
  • About 15 percent of the homeless population – 84,291 – are considered “chronically homeless” individuals, and
  • About 9 percent of homeless people- 49,933 – are veterans.

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.

Source: National Alliance to End Homelessness

The State of Homelessness in America

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.

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