A Different Look at Homelessness


Part 2

A homeless person’s life expectancy is 47. The rest of the population is expected to live to age 77. The 30 years difference is startling. Homeless women have an even lower expectancy of just 43 years. The US experiences staggering statistics when it comes to homelessness. On one single night in America 396,045 single individuals experienced homelessness. There were 37,085 homeless veterans you would find on a lonely street someplace. Families, with children, numbered 171,670. The number one reason these people are homeless is because they cannot find affordable housing. Washington, California, and New York have the largest number of homeless people.

Different Types Of Homelessness

Homelessness is broken down into four different categories. These include chronic, episodic, transitional, and hidden. Chronic is obvious as it is basically a homeless person being homeless for the rest of his/her life. Episodic homelessness refers to people who have been homeless for at least three time periods during the previous year. Younger people are more apt to fit this category. They often suffer some type of disabling condition. These conditions include substance abuse, mental illness, and/or medical issues. Transitional homelessness is temporary housing. It is available to the working homeless who earn too little money to rent long-term housing. Transitional housing is intended to offer housing to residents until they can move into housing they can afford. It often offers some type of support services. This type of shelter varies from state to state. Hidden homelessness includes people who do not have permanent shelter. They find a temporary solution by staying with family members, friends, or staying in squats.

Some Startling Facts About The Homeless

Paula C. has two daughters. After they lost their home the three have lived in a minivan for four years. They wash their clothes at a church annex. They use bathrooms at gas stations. 

One-quarter of homeless people are children under the age of 18. Many of these children are alone without parents, a guardian, or supervision. A recent report by the National Center for Homeless Education stated that local school districts reported that more than one million children, attending public schools, are homeless.

More than 57,000 veterans are homeless. Sixty percent of them are in shelters while the remainder live on the street. Almost 5,000 of these homeless are females.

Where homelessness is concerned, out of every five people one of them, 20 percent, suffers from severe mental illness. Compare this to the general population which is six percent.

The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty reported that 90 percent of homeless women are victims of physical or sexual abuse. Escaping that abuse results in many women becoming homeless. 

Every year approximately 2.5 million children experience homelessness. This number breaks down to one in every 30 children who experience being without a home. Forty percent of homeless school-age children suffer from a mental health issue. This experience can cause learning problems to challenge how emotions are handled, cause difficulties in creating relationships, and many other issues.

Fifty-four percent of homeless veterans suffer from a mental and/or physical disability. Many of the veterans also suffer from traumatic brain injuries or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Many More People Face Homelessness In The Future

The high cost of housing, rising rental costs, less housing available for low-cost housing, more homes being foreclosed on – these are all factors leading to future homelessness. If you, or your loved ones, find yourself out of a job, facing a major health problem, or dealing with many other issues what will you do? Do you have sufficient savings to survive? If not, what will you do? We sometimes look down on the homeless – the truth is, many more of us might be in that grim picture in the future.