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Homelessness Around the Country

Homelessness Across the United States

  • Each year, more than 3 million people experience homelessness in the United States.1
  • More than 1.5 million children are homeless annually in the United States. That's one in every 50 American children.2
  • In a national survey of 27 major U.S. cities, 76% of respondents reported an increase in family homelessness.3
  • The top three identified causes of homelessness among individuals were lack of affordable housing, substance abuse, and unemployment.3
  • 82 percent of cities on a 27 city Task Force reported having to make adjustments to accommodate an increase in the demand for shelter over the past year.3

Homelessness in Los Angeles

  • Los Angeles officials cited a survey of homeless people in their city, which found that 13 percent of respondents had tried to access a shelter within the last 30 days, and of those 13 percent, 68 percent were turned away because no beds were available.3
  • The city of Santa Monica has reported a 15 percent increase in the number of homeless individuals who requested city-funded services and housing over the last year.4
  • There is one homeless person for every 154 people in Los Angeles.5

Homelessness in Northern California

  • Sacramento reports that the unmet need for shelter could increase in 2010 as budget issues have prompted the city to discontinue funding for emergency shelter. One shelter reported a waiting list close to 300 persons.3
  • Over the past year in San Francisco, the waitlists for families and individuals to access emergency shelters have both increased 50 percent.4
  • Shelter seekers in San Francisco were turned away an average of 6 times a year when seeking a bed.6

Homelessness in the Southwest

  • Phoenix has reported that their shelters have remained at capacity for the past year.3
  • Maricopa County homeless service providers assisted 3,681 children under the age of 18 and 742 ages 18-21.7
  • Denver has seen an overall increase in homelessness among both unaccompanied individuals and people in families over the past year.3
  • Of the 13,338 homeless persons identified in the 2009 point-in-time count in Southern Nevada, 53% were in shelter facilities and 47% were unsheltered. Nearly 32% of survey respondents had been homeless for a year or more.8

Homelessness on the East Coast

  • In an attempt to keep up with the demand for shelter, Boston reports that the state of Massachusetts is currently paying for hotel or motel stays for over 1,000 homeless families.3
  • The number of homeless individuals in New York City has increased by 34% over the past year.5
  • Last year is first time ever that the number of homeless people sleeping each night in the New York City shelter system has exceeded 39,000 people.9

  1. The National Coalition for the Homeless. (2009). How Many People Experience Homelessness? Retrieved from http://www.nationalhomeless.org/factsheets/How_Many.html
  2. National Center on Family Homelessness. (2009). America's Youngest Outcasts: State Report Card on Child Homelessness. Retrieved from http://www.homelesschildrenamerica.org/pdf/rc_full_report.pdf
  3. The United States Conference of Mayors. (2009). Hunger & Homelessness Survey: A Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness in America's Cities, A 27-City Survey.
  4. The United States Conference of Mayors. (2008). Hunger & Homelessness Survey: A Status Report on Hunger and Homelessness in America's Cities, A 25-City Survey.
  5. NYC Department of Homeless Services. Homeless Outreach Population Estimate Results, 2010. Retrieved May 24, 2010, from http://www.nyc.gov/html/dhs/downloads/pdf/hope10_results.pdf
  6. Coalition on Homelessness San Francisco. (2009). The Runaround: An Examination of San Francisco's Byzantine Shelter Reservation System. Retrieved from http://www.cohsf.org/reports/2009/runaround.pdf
  7. Arizona Homeless Coordination Office, Department of Economic Security. (2009). Current Status of Homelessness in Arizona and Efforts to Prevent and Alleviate Homelessness, 18th Annual Report. Retrieved from http://www.azceh.orgPDF/2009CurrentStatusofHomelessness.pdf
  8. Applied Survey Research, Santa Cruz Office. (2009). Southern Nevada 2009 Homeless Census and Survey. Retrieved from http://www.helphopehome.org/news/research/2009-SouthernNevadaReport-FINAL2.pdf
  9. Coalition for the Homeless. (2010). State of the Homeless 2010: How Governor Paterson's Budget Will Make New York's Historic Homelessness Crisis Even Worse. Retrieved from http://www.coalitionforthehomeless.org/pages/state-of-the-homeless-2010