About Homelessness

National Facts on Homelessness*

Facts on Homelessness

The State of Homelessness in America 2015 is the fifth in a series of reports that chart progress in ending homelessness in the United States. It uses the most recently available data to present national and state trends in homelessness between 2013 and 2014, trends in populations at risk of homelessness from 2012 to 2013, and trends in the types and utilization of assistance available to people experiencing homelessness.


On a single night in January 2014, 578,424 people were experiencing homelessness — meaning they were sleeping outside or in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program. From 2013 to 2014, a period of ongoing recovery from the Great Recession, overall homelessness decreased by 2.3 percent and homelessness decreased among every major subpopulation: unsheltered persons (10 percent), families (2.7 percent), chronically homeless individuals (2.5 percent), and veterans (10.5 percent).

  • 34 states had decrease in overall homelessness, while 17 states saw increases. 40 states had decreases in the number of people living in unsheltered locations, including the street, cars, and abandoned buildings.
  • The national rate of homelessness fell to 18.3 homeless people per 10,000 people in the general population, but the rate in individual states ranged from 120 in Washington, D.C. to 7 in Mississippi.
  • The rate of veteran homelessness continued its descent of the past several years to 25.5 homeless veterans per 10,000 veterans in the general population, but the rate in individual states ranged from 146 in Washington, D.C. to 9 in Virginia.
  • The majority of states had decreases in every major subpopulation: family homelessness (32 states), chronically homeless individuals (27 states), and veteran homelessness (28 states).
  • For more information, click here.  

Common Situations that Lead to Homelessness:

  1. Unforeseen economic crisis
  2. Job loss
  3. Foreclosure
  4. Serious medical condition
  5. Death in the family

Washington, DC, Area Facts on Homelessness**

As shown, between the 2015 and 2016 counts there was a reduction among single persons counted (‐3.6 percent), though there was an increase in the number of families counted from year to year (+31.8 percent).2016 table

For more information, click here.

Read Central Union Mission's response to the release of this report here.

*Statistics provided by the National Alliance to End Homelessness and the Homelessness Research Institute's The State of Homelessness in America 2015 report.

**Information for Washington, DC Area section provided by Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and the Community Partnership to Prevent Homelessness.