New NAEH Report Describes Trends in Homelessness

The National Alliance to End Homelessness released “The State of Homelessness: 2020 Edition,” which provides national homelessness statistics, data visualization, detailed resources about homelessness in each state and Continuum of Care (CoC), and predictions about the impact of the pandemic on people experiencing homelessness. This year’s report notes that homelessness increased by 3% in the 2019 Point-in-Time Count over the previous year, the third straight year of increases, and that the COVID-19 crisis could eliminate all gains made in eliminating homelessness since 2007.

The overall rate of homelessness in the U.S. is 17 out of every 10,000. States with the highest rates of homelessness are New York (47 out of every 10,000), Hawaii (45 out of every 10,000), California (38 out of every 10,000), Oregon (38 out of every 10,000), and Washington (29 out of every 10,000).

Since 2009, the number of veterans experiencing homelessness has fallen by 49.4%, and the number of families experiencing homelessness has fallen by 27.9%, while the number of chronically homeless individuals has only fallen by 10.3%. Over the last three years, individual homelessness increased by 11%.

The report also discusses populations most at risk of homelessness. The number of severely housing cost-burdened households living in poverty has declined by 14.2% since 2014 but remains above 2008 levels. The number of doubled-up people sharing housing for economic reasons has been trending downward over the last five years, but it is still 12% higher than it was in 2007. Additionally, some racial and ethnic groups are more likely to experience homelessness than others: Native Americans and Pacific Islanders experience the highest rates of homelessness, with Black and Latino people also disproportionally represented, compared to general population numbers.

The report links to research predicting the number of COVID-19 cases that will arise among people experiencing homelessness, identifying Los Angeles, New York City, San Jose, Seattle, Oakland, San Francisco, Las Vegas, and Phoenix as cities facing the most severe challenges.

The report also draws on homeless services provider reports to track changes in the types of services offered. Over the last five years, the number of temporary housing beds (including emergency shelters and transitional housing) have decreased by 5%. The number of permanent housing beds (including permanent supportive housing and rapid rehousing) have increased by 20%.

The report can be found here: