The State of Homelessness in America 2013: Chapter 1

written by Sam Batko
April 12, 2013

This has been a busy week at the Alliance. The Homelessness Research Institute released The State of Homelessness in America 2013. This is the third installment in a series of reports that examines trends in homelessness and the economic and housing context in which those trends occur.

Today we are going to take a quick look at Chapter 1, which examines national and state level trends in homelessness. The data presented in Chapter 1 comes from Point-In-Time estimates for January 2011 and January 2012 reported to the Department of Housing and Urban Development by communities across the U.S.

Nationally, homelessness remained about the same—decreasing by less than 1 percent, but it went it went up in 28 states and the District of Columbia. Veteran and chronic homelessness both decreased significantly at the national level, but several states saw increases in both populations. On the other hand, family homelessness has increased slightly, despite 25 states reporting either no change or a decrease.

The rate of homelessness in the U.S. in 2012 was 20 homeless persons per 10,000 people in the general population. And, despite the decreases in veteran homelessness, the rate of homelessness among veterans remained higher than the rate of homelessness in the general population at 29 homeless veterans per 10,000 veterans.

Lastly, while the majority of people experiencing homelessness were staying in emergency shelter or transitional housing programs in 2012, a little more than a third were living in a place not meant for human habitation such as the streets, a car, or an abandoned building. Nationally, there was no change in the unsheltered population from 2011 to 2012, but 17 states reported a decrease.