New data show that there are 552,830 people experiencing homelessness in America on any given night.
New Report Shows Family and Veteran Homelessness Are Down, Even as Total Homelessness Sees a Slight Increase
The latest federal data — released this week — show that there are 552,830 people experiencing homelessness in America on any given night. That number is up slightly (0.3 percent) since last year but down 13 percent since 2010.
In the past year, there have been decreases among key populations, including families (-2.2 percent) and veterans (-5.4 percent). But serious challenges remain, especially for individual adults and those experiencing chronic homelessness. Almost half of individuals experiencing homelessness are unsheltered — sleeping outside or in a place not meant for human habitation.
The evidence is clear that homelessness is being driven by the nation's affordable housing crisis. The lack of affordable housing has a dual effect: it pushes more people into the homelessness system, while also making it more difficult to help people exit into housing.
Alliance President & CEO Nan Roman: "The solution to homelessness is housing. And when the nation had an adequate supply of affordable housing, we didn't have a homelessness crisis. Today, the lack of affordable housing affects large cities and rural communities alike, putting more people at risk of becoming homeless each month. We cannot overstate the scope of this challenge, or the impact it has had on the nation."
Despite these challenges, the number of people experiencing homelessness declined in 31 states and the District of Columbia in 2018. Those working on the front lines of the homelessness system are actually getting more people back into housing every year. The increases of the past two years aren't because the homelessness system isn't effective; they are because more people are coming into the system than ever.
The fact that so many communities continue to reduce the number of homeless people is proof that with greater federal and local investments and a bigger commitment to affordable housing, the rest of the nation can do the same.