who are the homeless?
Various factors contribute to the issue of homelessness, but the primary catalyst is the inability to access affordable housing. Additionally, factors contributing to homelessness encompass chronic health challenges, experiences of domestic violence, and systemic inequalities.
As per the most recent Point-in-Time (PIT) Count conducted in January 2022, there were 582,462 individuals experiencing homelessness across the United States. This equates to approximately 18 individuals per 10,000 in the population. The majority (72 percent) constituted single adults, with a significant proportion (28 percent) being families with children.
The problem of homelessness has been steadily increasing since 2017, with an overall surge of 6 percent. In 2022, the counts of both individuals (421,392 people) and chronically homeless individuals (127,768) reached historic peaks in data collection.
Furthermore, unsheltered homelessness rates are on the incline, affecting various racial, ethnic, and gender subgroups. Despite efforts to expand the availability of temporary and permanent housing options in 2022, homeless service systems still fall short in meeting the needs of all those seeking assistance.
It is noteworthy that homelessness experienced a modest increase of 0.3 percent from 2020 to 2022, a period marked by both pandemic-related economic disruptions and substantial federal investments in human services.
The harsh reality is that for too many Americans homelessness is only one paycheck or crisis away.
Homelessness can happen to anyone.
No one should go a single night without a safe place to go to bed, but for most homelessness is a temporary crisis. At HSI we prioritize working with populations at greatest risk and for whom homelessness is cyclical: those who have lived on the streets for years, individuals struggling with serious and persistent mental illness and/or substance use, families and individuals living with HIV/AIDS, very low-income seniors, and veterans with traumatic combat experience.
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photos and profiles courtesy of Jessica Simkovic