The State of Homelessness in America 2012

State of Homelessness in America

The National Alliance to End Homelessness recently released their second of The State of Homelessness in America series. The report uses the most recently available national data to examine homelessness between 2009 and 2011.

Despite being a period of economic downturn in the nation, homelessness in America reportedly decreased by one percent from 2009 to 2011. The National Alliance to End Homelessness attributes the decrease in homelessness to innovative, federally funded approaches, such as the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP). HPRP was initiated in January 2010 with a focus on preventing a recession-related increase in homelessness. The program has assisted more than one million people to date, but unfortunately is only temporary. Funding will run out this year.

The 52-page report takes a close look at not only homelessness data, but also the associated economic and demographic data. Although we highly suggest that you read the full report, here are a few especially noteworthy findings:

  • Over the course of a year, the odds of experiencing homelessness for a person in the general US population are 1 in 194;
    • for a person discharged from prison or jail, the odds are 1 in 13;
    • for a person living doubled-up (living with friends, family or other nonrelatives for economic reasons), the odds are 1 in 12;
    • and for a person who has aged out of foster care, the odds are 1 in 11.
  • Of the approximate 636,000 individuals who are homeless [on a given night] in America, nearly 4 in 10 are unsheltered (living in the streets, cars, abandoned buildings, or other places not intended for human habitation).
  • Although the national homeless population decreased, the homeless population increased in 24 of 50 states plus the District of Columbia.
  • About 69% of the homeless population is located in the 100 most populated metropolitan areas.
    • Florida is 1 of 2 states that account for 13 of the 24 total metro areas where the rates of homelessness are higher than the national rate.
    • Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL is the metro area with the highest rate of homelessness in the US.
  • The average real income of the working poor increased slightly from $9,300 in 2009 to about $9,400 in 2010.
    • However, there’s not a single county in the nation where a family with an average annual income of $9,400 can afford fair market rent for a one-bedroom unit.
  • The number of poor households which pay more than 50% of their income on rent increased 22% from 2007 to 2010.
  • Nationally, 1 out of every 45 housing units had a foreclosure in 2010, a more than 100% increase from 2007.

As The State of Homelessness in America 2012 reveals, there is much work left to do to end homelessness in America. Research from this report delves into important risk factors for homelessness; but the good news is the success of the HPRP has demonstrated that homelessness can be reduced. A number of strategies to do so are in the report.

What do you think?