How many people are homeless?
As of the last, official count, about 671,859 people experience homelessness on any given night in the United States. State by state data can be found on our interactive map.
How many people are homeless in my community?
The Alliance offers a couple interactive tools to help answer this question. The State by State interactive tool and the Multi-Year Homelessness Counts Map offer information about homeless numbers by state and region.
Why are people homeless?
Specific reasons vary, but research shows people are homeless because they can’t find housing they can afford.According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, an estimated 12 million renter and homeowner households now pay more then 50 percent of their annual incomes for housing, and a family with one full-time worker earning the minimum wage cannot afford the local fair-market rent for a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the United States.
HUD also notes that the generally accepted definition of housing affordability is no more than 30 percent of monthly income going toward housing costs. Families or individuals who pay more than 30 percent of their income for housing are considered “cost-burdened” and can have difficulty affording necessities such as food, clothing, transportation, and medical care.
The lack of affordable housing is a significant hardship for low-income households and can prevent them from meeting their other basic needs, such as nutrition and health care, or saving for their future.
You can learn more about why some specific groups experience homelessness – families, youth, and veterans, for instance – on our blog.
How can I get help if I am homeless or about to be homeless?
The Alliance is a research- and policy-based organization, and as such is not a direct-service provider with the capacity to directly assist people in need of immediate assistance.
However, we do know of some places that may be more helpful. Immediate sources of aid in your community can be found by consulting your local department of social services or your local branch of the Salvation Army or the United Way help line. You may also find it helpful to consult directories of homeless service providers by the the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the National Coalition for the Homeless.
An organization called Neighborworks also has a hotline, 888-995-HOPE, and a website to help homeowners avoid foreclosure. For assistance specifically with default/foreclosure or rental needs, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has provided a list of approved housing counseling agencies.
What do the demographics of homelessness look like?
Data indicates that the average homeless person is a middle-aged African American man, but the chart below provides more insight into the demographics of the homeless population in the U.S. Below is a chart with common demographics from the2008 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, published in July 2009.
|Percentage of All Sheltered Homeless Population||Percentage of Individuals||Percentage of Persons in Families|
|Black orAfrican American||41.7%||37.0%||50.9%|
|Other Single Race||3.4%||2.8%||4.8%|
|Under Age 18||20.4%||2.0%||60.3%|
|18 to 30||22.5%||22.5%||21.5%|
|31 – 50||40.3%||51.5%||16.7%|
|51 – 61||14.0%||20.0%||1.3%|
|62 and older||2.8%||4.0%||0.2%|
|5 or more people||7.5%||0.0%||23.7%|
|Veterans (adults only)||11.6%||13.4%||2.0%|
|Disabled (adults only)||42.8%||47.1%||18.4%|