A Look At Homelessness

generic homeless poor poverty CBS/AP file photo

A survey by the Department of Housing and Urban Development about homelessness found that 704,000 people nationwide sought shelter at least once in a three-month period.


What Is The Federal Definition Of Homelessness?
The term "homeless" includes:

  • An individual who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence; and
  • An individual who has a primary nighttime residence that is a)A shelter designed to provide temporary living accommodations (including welfare hotels, congregate shelters, and transitional housing for the mentally ill); b)An institution that provides a temporary residence for individuals intended to be institutionalized; or c) A public or private place not designed for, or ordinarily used as, a regular sleeping accommodation for human beings.


  • How Many Have Sought Shelter?
    A survey of homelessness from HUD found that 704,000 people nationwide sought shelter at least once in a three-month period.

    HUD's new data also indicates that 754,000 persons are living in emergency shelter, transitional housing, and on the streets on any given night.


    Who Is Homeless?
    Families with children accounted for one-third of those seeking emergency shelter or transitional housing between February and April 2005, the most recent period studied, according to the report by the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The rest were individuals, mostly adult men. Nearly half were black.


    To Learn More About Homelessness:
    • You can read the full report from HUD here.

    • Click here to access local homelessness figures.

    • You can find information about states and communities here.

    • Click here for local homeless assistance.

    • The National Coalition for the Homeless has additional resources.

    • You can read more from the Interagency Council On Homelessness.

    • Melissa McNamara

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