Summary

  • The State of Homelessness in America 2013 examines trends in homelessness between 2011 and 2012 as well as the economic, housing, and demographic context in which homelessness changes over time. The report shows that, overall, the homeless population decreased by less than 1 percent, but this is not the full story. While the number of people experiencing homelessness as part of a family increased slightly, the number of individuals experiencing chronic homelessness and those identifying as veterans decreased significantly.

    The mixed findings may be related to policy changes as well as to the economic climate in which these changes are taking place. Increased federal investment in effective solutions, such as permanent supportive housing, has been aimed at veterans and chronically homeless individuals. Also, during this time period, flexible federal resources were available to communities through the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP) to help prevent and end homelessness for families and individuals. Despite these resources, increased competition for housing resources and growing housing cost burden combined with increases in the size of the population living in doubled-up situations and poor single-adult-headed families make attaining and maintaining housing more difficult for families and single adults who are not chronically homeless.

    Report Contents

    The National Alliance to End Homelessness has published a series of reports chronicling changes in the levels of homelessness in the nation, individual states, and the District of Columbia, in an effort to chart the nation’s progress in ending homelessness. The most recent of these, The State of Homelessness in America series, not only examines changes in national- and state-level homelessness data, but also provides data on related economic and demographic trends.

    The State of Homelessness in America 2013, the third in this series, uses the most recently available national data from a variety of sources: U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, and National Association of State Budget Officers. This report includes three chapters: Chapter One presents data on homelessness at the national and state levels using point-in-time estimates of the overall homeless population and subpopulations, measured in 2011 and 2012; Chapter Two describes economic and housing factors that impact homelessness including housing cost and unemployment; and Chapter Three describes demographic and household factors that impact homelessness including population groups that are at increased risk.

    A series of appendices provide detailed, state-level information on all homelessness data and contextual factors described in this report.

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