A homeless man warms himself by a fire.
Each year, more than 3 million people experience homelessness, including 1.3 million children.
And according to national studies, even more Americans are at risk of homelessness. Millions of low-income American households pay more that 50 percent of their income on rent when estimates say the figure should be no more than 30 percent.
A missed paycheck, a health emergency, or an unpaid bill creates a crisis, pushing them out of their homes and in to homelessness.
Beginning in the early 1980s, the number of homeless Americans grew dramatically. The face of homelessness became diverse. It came to include mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, and racial and ethnic minorities.
One-third of the homeless population is made up of families.
To end homelessness, new policies must be implemented to address its fundamental causes:
Lack of Affordable Housing
Almost half of the homeless population works, but does not earn enough to pay for housing.
Incomes for the poorest Americans have not kept pace with rising housing costs. Millions of workers are shut out of the private housing market.
- Slashed Services and Government Assistance
As earned income for the poor is decreasing, assistance programs have been severely cut.
Opinion polls show that the majority of Americans support solutions to end homelessness. But, to achieve this goal, vigorous advocacy is needed.