Facts About Homelessness
- Families experiencing homelessness are similar to housed families living in poverty. In fact, many poor families – homeless or not – share similar characteristics: they are usually headed by a single woman with limited education, are usually young, and have high rates of domestic violence and mental illness.
- Some families living in poverty, however, fall into homelessness, usually due to some unforeseen financial challenge, such as a death in the family, a lost job, or an unexpected bill, creating a situation where the family cannot maintain housing.
- According to the 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, On a single night in 2016, 549,928 people were experiencing homelessness in the United States. A majority (68%) was staying in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs, or safe havens, and 32 percent were in unsheltered locations.
- Fortunately, homelessness among families is often not a long-term experience. About 75 percent of families who enter shelters are able to quickly exit with little assistance and never return. Some families, however, require more intensive assistance.
- Over one-fifth of people experiencing homelessness were children (22%), 69 percent were over the age of 24, and nine percent were between the ages of 18 and 24.
- Between 2015 and 2016, the number of people experiencing homelessness declined by three percent. Declines were composed entirely of people staying in sheltered locations (which declined by 5%). Homelessness increased among people staying in unsheltered locations (by 2%)