Homeless Article, Facts About Homelessness, Homelessness Statistics
Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness

HOMELESS STATS

This section addresses these key topics:

Homelessness in the United States
Affordable Housing Shortage
Chronic Homelessness
Family Homelessness
Domestic Violence
Homelessness Among Older Adults
Youth Homelessness
Veterans and Homelessness
Homelessness in Illinois
How do HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Programs impact Illinois?
Homelessness in Chicago

Homelessness in the United States

On any given night, approximately 750,000 men, women, and children are homeless in the US.

* 56% are living in shelters and transitional housing, while 44% are unsheltered.
* 59% are single adults and 41% are persons living in families.
* 98,452 are homeless families
* 23% are chronically homeless according to HUD’s definition.
(Cunningham, Mary and Meghan Henry. 2007. Homelessness Counts. Washington, DC: National Alliance to End Homelessness.)

Over the course of a year, between 2.5 and 3.5 million people will live either on the streets or in an emergency shelter.
(Homelessness in the United States of America. Prepared by the National Alliance to End Homelessness.)
 

Affordable Housing Shortage

The number of households that are paying over 50 percent of their income toward housing, or severely cost burdened, is estimated to be 15.8 million.
(Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS). Harvard University 2006. The State of the Nation’s Housing.)

While 15.8 million households are eligible for tenant based housing subsidies, only one in nine receive them.
(Rice, D. and Sard, B. The Effects of the Federal Budget Squeeze on Low Income Housing Assistance. Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. February 2, 2007.)

In 1976, the HUD Budget authority was just over $86 billion. In the past three decades, this figure fell to approximately $34 billion.
While there are 6 million units of affordable housing accessible to households earning 30 percent of the area median income, there are 7.7 million such households.
(National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). 2006. Out of Reach.)

The National Alliance to End Homelessness estimates that over 3 million units of new affordable housing are needed nationwide. A recent report from DePaul University’s Real Estate Center projects that Cook County will face a shortfall of 78,000 units of affordable housing by 2020.

It is estimated that 10 to 15 percent of the people who enter Chicago’s homeless system could have maintained their housing with targeted financial assistance.

Chronic Homelessness

About half of the people who experience homelessness over the course of a year are single adults.
(Burt, M.R., Aron, L.Y., Douglas, T., Valente, J., Lee, E., and Iwen, B. 1999. Homelessness: Programs and the People they Serve, Findings of the National Survey of Homelessness Assistance Providers and Clients Technical Report. Urban Institute. Washington, DC: Interagency Council on the Homeless.)

While an overwhelming majority (80 percent) of single adult shelter users enter the homeless system only once or twice, stay just over a month, and do not return, approximately 9 percent enter nearly five times a year and stay nearly two months each time. This group utilizes 18 percent of the system’s resources.
(National Alliance to End Homelessness. 2007. Homelessness Counts. Washington, DC: National Alliance to End Homelessness.)

There are approximately 150,000 to 200,000 chronically homeless individuals nationwide.
(National Alliance to End Homelessness tabulations of Continuum of Care 2005 point in time estimates.)

Although chronic homelessness represents a small share of the overall homeless population, chronically homeless people use up more than 50 percent of the services.
(Kuhn, R. & Culhane, D.P. 1998. Applying cluster analysis to test of a typology of homelessness: Results from the analysis of administrative data. American Journal of Community Psychology, 17(1), 23-43.)
 

Family Homelessness

Every year, 600,000 families with 1.35 million children experience homelessness in the United States, making up about 50 percent of the homeless population over the course of the year.
(Culhane, D. 2004. Family Homelessness: Where to From Here? October 14, 2004 to the National Alliance to End Homelessness Conference on Ending Family Homelessness.)

43 percent of children living with homeless parents are under the age of 6.
(Homelessness in the United States of America. Prepared by the National Alliance to End Homelessness.)

Research identifies the lack of affordable housing as the primary cause of homelessness among families in the United States.
(Burt, M.R. 2001. "What Will it Take to End Homelessness?" Washington, DC: Urban Institute.)

Studies have shown that families exiting homelessness with a housing subsidy remain stably housed over time; they are 21 times more likely to remain stably housed than comparable families exiting a shelter without a subsidy.
(Shin, M., Weitzman, B.C., Stojanovic, D. Knickman, J.R., Jimenez, L., Duchon, L., James, S., and Krantz, D.H. 1998. "Predictors of homelessness among families in New York City: From shelter request to housing stability." American Journal of Public Health, 88 (11): 1561-1657.)

Without a housing subsidy, a family has to make $16.31 an hour ($33,924.80 annually) to afford housing at the national fair market rent; the hourly rate is much higher in higher-cost rental markets.
(Pelletiere, D., Wardrip, K., and Crowley, S. 2006. "Out of Reach: 2006." Washington, DC: National Low Income Housing Coalition.)

Studies have shown that 20 percent of homeless families stated that welfare reductions caused their homelessness.
("Quick Facts." icpny.org. 2007. The Institute for Children and Poverty. 31 January 2008)

Half of all homeless children attended three different schools in one year. And three-quarters of homeless children perform below grade level in reading.
("Quick Facts." icpny.org. 2007. The Institute for Children and Poverty. 31 January 2008.)

Domestic Violence

In a national survey of homeless people, domestic violence was the second most frequently stated cause of homelessness for families, with 13 percent of homeless families saying that they had left their last place of residence because of abuse or violence in the household.
(Burt, M.R., Aron, L.Y., Douglas, T., Valente, J., Lee, E., and Iwen, B. 1999. “Homelessness: Programs and the People They Serve. Findings of the National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers and Clients.” Washington, DC: Interagency Council on Homeless.)

Half of all homeless women and children experienced physical violence, and 92 percent of homeless mothers were victims of physical or sexual assault.
(“Quick Facts.” icpny.org. 2007. The Institute for Children and Poverty. 31 January 2008.)
 

Homelessness Among Older Adults

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, between February 1 and April 30, 2005, more than 10 percent of sheltered homeless persons were between 51 and 61 years old.
(“Homelessness Among Elderly People.” Nationalhomeless.org. 2007. National Coalition for the Homeless. 31 January 2008.)

Youth Homelessness

Researchers estimate that about 5 to 7.7 percent of youth experience homelessness each year.
(Robertson, M.J., and Toro, P.A. 1998. Homeless Youth: Research, Intervention, Policy. National Symposium on Homelessness Research. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.)

Within 2-4 years of exiting foster care, 25 percent of foster children experience homelessness.
(Homelessness in the United States of America. Prepared by the National Alliance to End Homelessness.)

While the average cost of foster care, in-patient treatment, or juvenile correction placements average between $25,000 and $55,000 per year, the average cost of a transitional living program housing unit for youth is approximately $11,800.
(National Network for Youth, Statement for the Record, FY2007 Labor-HHS-Education-Related Agencies Appropriations before the Subcommittee on Labor-Health and Human Services-Education-Related Agencies, Committee on Appropriations, U.S. House of Representatives.)

A 2005 University of Illinois report on homeless youth funded by the Illinois Department of Human Services found that as many as 25,000 youth are homeless annually in Illinois.
 

Veterans and Homelessness

It is estimated that between 23 and 40 percent of homeless adults are veterans.
(See Rosenheck (1996) for an overview of homeless veterans estimates) (National Alliance to End Homelessness. Fact Checker: Veterans and Homelessness. November 2006.)

Most homeless veterans are male; the VA estimates that as few as three percent of homeless veterans are female. However, this number has the potential to increase over time as the number of women veterans increases.

Almost 46 percent of homeless veterans are white males and 46 percent are 45 or older.

More than half (56) percent have completed high school or a GED program.

The number of veterans reporting problems with drugs (40 percent) and alcohol (58 percent) does not differ significantly from non-veteran homeless males.
(National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers and Clients (NSHAPC), 1996.)
 

Homelessness in Illinois

Based on the January 2011 National Alliance to End Homelessness State of Homelessness report, an estimated 14,055 people experience homelessness each night in Illinois.

* 84% were living in shelters and transitional housing, while 16% were unsheltered.
* 53% were single adults and 47% were persons living in families.
* 16% were chronically homeless according to HUD’s definition.

People who are homeless in Illinois have a variety of characteristics.  Of the total persons who are homeless at a given point in time, sheltered and unsheltered, in Illinois:

15% are veterans
32% are severally mentally ill
48% have chronic substance abuse issues
4% are living with HIV/AIDS
25% are victims of domestic violence
 

  (The State of Homelessness in America. Prepared by National Alliance to End Homelessness. January 2011). 

(2007 Chicago Point in Time Count)

How do HUD’s McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Programs impact Illinois?

Illinois receives the third largest amount of HUD Homeless Assistance funding in the country.

In FY2007, Illinois received $82,852,988 in HUD Homeless Assistance grants through the state’s 21 continuums.

This annual funding supports 365 programs throughout the state of that provide shelter, transitional housing, permanent housing and supportive services for homeless individuals and families.

Unmet Need: In 2006, Illinois’ Continuums estimated an unmet need of 8,729 beds. This included an unmet need of 5,671 permanent supportive housing beds.
 

Homelessness in Chicago

For complete information on homelessness in Chicago, please visit the Homelessness 101 page in this website.

Further information can be found in the 2007_Homeless_Count_Summary_Report.pdf