A Few Facts About Homelessness

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A Few Facts About Homelessness

There are over 600 thousand people in America who are experiencing the hardships of homelessness and it isn’t just confined to those living on the streets. Homelessness extends to those in multi-family homes, transitional living, homeless shelters, and even children awaiting foster-care placement. 

Nearly one-quarter of all homeless people were homeless children under the age of 18, and 30 percent of sheltered homeless people were children.

About 25% suffer from some type of mental illness. A University of Pennsylvania study tracking nearly 5,000 homeless people for two years discovered that investing in comprehensive health support and treatment of physical and mental illnesses is less costly than incarceration, shelter and hospital services for the untreated homeless.

Five states: California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Massachusetts accounted for more than half of the homeless population in the United States, according to the 2013 HUD report.


Nearly 48,000 or 8.5% of all homeless persons are veterans. Homeless veterans tend to experience homelessness longer than their non-veteran peers: Veterans spend an average of nearly six years homeless, compared to four years reported among non-veterans.

17% are considered chronically homeless. Chronic homelessness is the term given to individuals that experience long-term or repeated bouts of homelessness. The chronically homeless are often the public face of the issue

Cities are increasingly making homelessness a crime. A 2014 survey of 187 cities by the NLCHP found that 24 percent of cities make it a city-wide crime to beg in public, 33 percent make it illegal to stand around or loiter anyplace in the city, 18 percent make it a crime to sleep anywhere in public, 43 percent make it illegal to sleep in your car, and 53 percent make it illegal to sit or lie down in particular public places. And the number of cities criminalizing homelessness is steadily increasing.

What can you do about it? Visit the National Coalition for the Homeless or the National Alliance to End Homelessness to find out how you can get involved.

Please visit our Hammocks for the Homeless page to learn about our efforts in tackling the homelessness problem.

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