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National Facts on Homelessness

The State of Homelessness in America 2012* report chronicles the changes in overall homelessness and in homelessness among sub-populations between 2009 and 2011.

The nation's homeless population decreased 1 percent from 643,067 in 2009 to 636,017 in 2011. While this is positive, homelessness remains an ongoing issue that affects every community. With targeted investments in effective programs, homelessness is a problem that can be solved.

  • The largest decrease was among homeless veterans, whose population declined 11 percent. The number of homeless veterans decreased from 75,609 in 2009 to 67,495 in 2011, a reduction of about 8,000.
  • The national rate of homelessness was 21 homeless people per 10,000 people in the general population. The rate for veterans was 31 homeless veterans per 10,000 veterans in the general population.
  • Chronic homelessness decreased by 3 percent from 110,911 in 2009 to 107,148 in 2011. The chronically homeless population has decreased by 13 percent since 2007. The decrease is associated with an increase in the number of permanent supportive housing beds from 188,636 in 2007 to 266,968 in 2011. Permanent supportive housing ends chronic homelessness.
  • A majority of homeless people counted were in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs, but nearly 4 in 10 were unsheltered, living on the streets, or in cars, abandoned buildings, or other places not intended for human habitation.
  • The un-sheltered population increased by 2 percent from 239,759 in 2009 to 243,701 in 2011, the only sub-population to increase.
  • The number of individuals in homeless families decreased by 1 percent nationally, but increased by 20 percent or more in 11 states.
  • While the homeless population decreased nationally, it increased in 24 states and the District of Columbia.
  • For more information, click here.

Top Reasons 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**

There are nearly 7,000 homeless persons in Washington DC. This represents an increase of 6.2% from 2011 and is broken down as follows:

  • 3,767 unaccompanied individuals
  • 3,187 adults and children (within 1,014 homeless families)

Other relevant information:

  • Median age of unaccompanied homeless person: 51
  • Homeless adults that reported having served in US armed forces: 12%
  • Unaccompanied adults reported having no income of any kind: 59%
  • Median income among homeless adults with at least one income source: $700
  • Cases of chronic substance abuse that was reported among the homeless: 1,300+
  • Adult homeless persons who reported a chronic health problem: 1/3
  • Homeless adults that stated that they had a past stay in an institutional setting (substance abuse treatment, hospital, jail, etc.): 1/4

Of single persons identified in emergency shelter, the following applied:

  • Men: 76%
  • Chronically Homeless: 69%
  • Average Age: 48
  • Employed: 19.2%
  • Chronic Health Problem: 29.1%
  • Chronic Substance Abuser: 15.1%
  • US Military Veteran: 13.4%

For more information, click here.



*Information for National Facts on Homelessness section provided by the Fannie Mae Help the Homeless website, National Alliance to End Homelessness and the Homelessness Research Institute's The State of Homelessness in America 2012 report.

**Information for Washington, DC Area section provided by The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness.