The Big Picture
While circumstances can vary, the main reason people experience homelessness is because they cannot find housing they can afford. It is the scarcity of affordable housing in the United States, particularly in more urban areas where homelessness is more prevalent, that is behind their inability to acquire or maintain housing.
By the numbers:
- In January 2015, 564,708 people were homeless on a given night in the United States.
- Of that number, 206,286 were people in families, and
- 358,422 were individuals.
- About 15 percent of the homeless population - 83,170 - are considered "chronically homeless” individuals.
- About 2 percent - 13,105 - are considered "chronically homeless” people in families.
- About 8 percent of homeless people- 47,725 - are veterans.
These numbers come from Point-in-Time Counts, which are conducted, community by community, on a single night in January every other year. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires communities to submit this data every other year in order to qualify for federal homeless assistance funds.