Latest Statistics on Homelessness in the U.S.
Despite the strength of the U.S. economy, homelessness continues to be a real issue that many people are facing. Today, we will look into important information and critical statistics of homelessness in the U.S.
Causes of Homelessness
There are several factors that may lead a person to become homeless, some of which include the following:
- Lack of affordable housing: Not all individuals may be able to afford paying a certain amount of rent due to low salaries.
- Insufficient funds: Some individuals may find themselves incapable of being able to pay for their rent after paying for other necessities like medicine, food, and child care.
- Unemployment: Especially during the recession, many families have found themselves living in the slums due to retrenchment.
- Poverty: Many consider this as the most common cause of homelessness. Being poor may have placed a limitation on individuals. Lack of education due to poverty may not allow these individuals to land a job that would allow them to sustain for the immediate of their families, lest afford to have a house of their own.
- Mental illness and the lack of needed services: It is unfortunate how some individuals with mental illness end up on the streets, particularly when their own families abandon them due to desperation or the financial incapacity to support their medical needs.
- Substance abuse and the lack of needed services: Substance abuse may become rampant, no matter how poor a city is. Individuals who have become addicted to illegal drugs are either unemployed or fired from their jobs. Lacking the needed funds to support their addiction may force them to live in the streets, either to ask for alms or steal from other people.
- Domestic violence: Individuals who no longer feel safe in their homes due to domestic violence are forced to leave their own homes for safety reasons. Unfortunately, more often than not, their only choice to live is on the streets.
Homelessness Statistics in the United States
Homelessness is an ongoing challenge, judging from the statistics on homelessness in the U.S. collected in 2016:
- More than 83,000 individuals – that’s 15% of the homeless population – are considered “chronically homeless”. This label describes individuals who have a disability and have experienced homelessness for a year or longer. It may also include those who have a disability and have experienced at least four episodes of homelessness in the last three years. Individuals who are considered as chronic homeless usually have mental illness and substance use disorders.
- Over half million individuals who were living on the streets, in cars, in homeless shelters or in subsidized transitional housing were asked in a survey conducted in January 2016. Results showed that at least 206,00 were people in families, more than 358,400 were individuals, and 25% of the entire group were children.
- About 8% of homeless individuals are veterans. Roughly 45% of veterans are black or of Hispanic descent, and 10% of the homeless veterans are women.
- About 550,000 young adults under the age of 24 experienced homelessness episodes of longer than one week. These homeless individuals are less likely to spend time in the same place as older homeless adults. They are less willing to disclose their real situation or identify themselves as homeless. Some of them would even look for ways to find themselves a job in order to blend in with their peers who are not homeless.
- About 50% of the homeless individuals are above 50 years old. These individuals often face additional health and safety risks due to age.
- One of the most vulnerable population is the LGBTQ youth, estimated at around 110,000. Family rejection, abuse and neglect are the primary reasons why some of these people became homeless since they are refused to be accepted as what they are.
Response to Help Homelessness
The government may not be able to help all of the homeless individuals due to other national concerns. Fortunately, there are non-profit organizations that are willing to extend assistance to alleviate the increasing number of homeless individuals.
That’s why we at Kids4Community do what we do. In addition to that, we teach children to become part of providing community service to homeless people.
Kids4Community have several programs, which include food drive, dinner service, basic needs drive, sandwich making, hygiene kits, and educational programs.