Homelessness in the U.S. Creeps Upwards in the Past Two Years, Disproportionately Affects Minorities

The National Alliance to End Homelessness (NAEH) released its annual report, The State of Homelessness in America, using data from HUD’s annual Point-in-Time Count. While the report finds homelessness decreased by 15% from 2007 to 2018, recent years have brought an uptick in homelessness, with a 0.5% increase since 2016. On a given night in 2018, 552,830 people were experiencing homelessness, or 17 out of every 10,000 people nationwide.

Racial and ethnic minorities are significantly over-represented in the population experiencing homelessness. Blacks account for 13% of the U.S. population but 40% of the homeless population. American Indians and Alaska Natives comprise 1% of the U.S. population, but 3% of the homeless population. By comparison, whites account for 79% of the U.S. population, but 50% of the homeless population.

Of the total population experiencing homelessness, 33% (180,413) are in families with children, 18% (96,913) are chronically homeless, 7% (37,878) are veterans, and 7% (36,361) are youth under the age of 25 without parents or children.

Thirty-five percent of all people experiencing homelessness are unsheltered. Sixty-two percent of chronically homeless individuals are unsheltered. Fifty percent of youth, 38% of veterans, 10% of people in families, and 46% of other individuals experiencing homelessness are unsheltered.

Emergency shelters, transitional housing, and safe haven providers have temporary beds to serve 70% of the homeless population. Their combined bed-capacity is sufficient for people in families with children but not for individuals. The U.S. has a shortage of more than 175,000 temporary beds for individuals experiencing homelessness.

Permanent supportive housing is the predominant intervention to address homelessness today, with 57% of assistance beds dedicated to permanent housing options in 2018, an increase from 31% in 2007. The number of permanent supportive housing beds has increased by 92% since 2007. Rapid re-housing, the newest strategy to address homelessness, has increased from 19,847 beds in 2013 to 109,095 in 2018, a 450% increase in just 5 years.

For more information and state-level data, see the full The State of Homelessness in America report at: https://bit.ly/2yaGEgz