Basic Statistics About Homelessness

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CampOn a given winter night in 2013, the point in time survey found that there are 610,000 homeless people in the United States, sleeping on the street, vehicles or temporary shelters.

Throughout any given year, there are approximately 3.5 million people who become homeless in the United States, which is about one percent of the total population.

About 2/3 of the homeless population are male, 1/3 female.

22 percent of the homeless are under 18.

About 25 percent of the homeless are families of three or more.

64 percent of the homeless are single individuals.

Homeless populations tend to rise in the summer.

41 percent of the homeless are black.

37 percent of the homeless are white.

10 percent of the homeless are Hispanic.

There are different kinds of homelessness:

Couch surfing (staying with friends or family)

In a shelter, temporarily (6 months or less)

Living in an RV or vehicle

Sleeping on the street/camping

Although there are different stresses in each of the kinds of homelessness, what they all have in common is the uncertainty of how long one might be able to stay in any given place.  At any moment, in each of these situations, a person may be told to move out, with little or no notice.

Approximately 70 percent of all homeless people get off the street in two months or less.

Only about ten percent of all homeless folks are “chronically” homeless, for a year or more.

The length one is homeless is a serious issue.  The stress of homelessness is akin to being in a home with an abusive person.  One isn’t abused all the time, but the stress of the potential of abuse is always there.  Even so, a homeless person may not be forced to move all the time, or to be attacked, or to be yelled at, but the stress of it is there always.  Thus, just as there is a difference between someone who has lived in a home with an abused person for a month, as opposed to two years, so the same with the homeless.  The longer one lives with the stresses of homelessness, the more likely someone is to have severe mental health issues, cognitive issues, addictions, chronic health problems and other issues related to stress.

Most important medical issues of the homeless:

PTSD– It is determined that up to 95 percent of all the homeless have experienced trauma.

Untreated dental issues

Untreated cuts or injuries

Chronic diseases

Respiratory illness

Hypothermia

Dehydration

A person is three times as likely to die on the street than in housing.

Statistics from: National Coilition for the Homeless; National Alliance to End Homelessness; the 2010 Annual Report on Homelessness to Congress; The 2013 Point in Time Homeless Count; The Homeless Hub; National Student Campaign against Homelessness and Hunger.

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