Facts About Homelessness
- Families experiencing homelessness are similar to other, 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 Volume I of the 2012 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, around 239,403 people in families were homeless on a single night in 2012. That estimate represents a 1.4 percent increase compared to HUD’s 2011 estimate, but a 3.7 decrease compared to its 2007 estimate.
- Fortunately, homelessness among families is typically not a long-term experience. About 75 percent of families who enter shelter are able to quickly exit with little or no assistance and never return. Some families, however, require more intensive assistance.