National Facts on Homelessness

The State of Homelessness in America 2013* examines trends in homelessness between 2011 and 2012 as well as the economic, housing, and demographic context in which homelessness changes over time. The report also identifies a number of challenges and opportunities in the efforts to prevent and end homelessness in the United States.  Small decreases in the overall size of the homeless population and the rate of homelessness between 2011 and 2012 remind us that there is still a great deal of work to be done.

Major Findings

  • From 2011 to 2012, the nation's homeless population decreased by .04 percent or by about 2,235 people.  At a point of time in January 2012, 633,782 people were experiencing homelessness. 
  • The largest decreases were 6.8 percent among individuals identified as chronically homeless and 7.2 percent among veterans.
  • The national rate of homelessness was 20 homeless people per 10,000 people in the general population.  The rate for veterans was 29 homeless veterans per 10,000 veterans in the homeless population.
  • A majority of people identified as homeless were staying in emergency shelters or transitional housing, but 38 percent were unsheltered,living on the streets, or in cars, abandonded buildings, or other places not intended fo human habitation.
  • There was no change in the number of homeless family households, however, the size of the average homeless family grew so the overall number of people in homeless families increased 1.4 percent.
  • While the overall homeless population decreased between 2011 and 2012, 28 states and the District of Columbia saw increases.
  • Chronic homelessness is defined as homelessness among people who have a disability - including serious mental illness, chronic substance use disorders, or chronic medical issues - and who are homeless repeatedly or for long period of time.  Overall, the chronic homeless population decreased by 7 percent between 2011 and 2012.
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 *Statistics provided by National Alliance to End Homelessness and the Homelessness Research Institute's The State of Homelessness in America 2013 report.