In the United States

Total population
• 3.5 million Americans (1.35 million of them children) experience homelessness in a given year.
• 800,000 men, women, and children are homeless each night in this nation.

As a result of research and accessibility constraints, studies on homeless people are limited to counting people who are in shelters or on the streets. This results in underestimates of homelessness. Many people who lack a stable, permanent residence have few shelter options because shelters are filled to capacity or are unavailable. A study conducted in 2007 found that 52% percent of cities noted that they turned people away because of a lack of capacity all or some of the time. (Source US Conference of Mayors Report 2007)

No estimates on the number of homeless people are true representation of "how many people are homeless.”

Facts you need to know are:
  • Affordable housing has been disappearing
  • Jobs have also been disappearing
  • The value of minimum wage has dropped
  • Value of welfare has dropped, become harder to get
  • So people are earning less, having trouble paying for housing, and when they lose their housing or their jobs, welfare isn’t there.
Homelessness and poverty are inextricably linked. Poor people are frequently unable to pay for housing, food, childcare, health care, and education. Difficult choices must be made when limited resources cover only some of these necessities.  Often it is housing, which absorbs a high proportion of income that must be dropped. If you are poor, you are
essentially an illness, an accident, or a paycheck away from living on the streets.

In 2007, 12.5% of the U.S. population, or 37,300,000 people, lived in poverty. Children are overrepresented, composing 35.7% of people in poverty while only being 24.8% of the total population.

In almost every city there are typically more homeless people then the available amount of emergency shelter and transitional housing facilities.
· Minimum wage is currently $7.30/hr. in Ohio
· The minimum wage in 1979, when adjusted for inflation, was $7.40

The current unemployment rate in the US is 9.5% The current unemployment rate in Ohio is 10.5% The current
unemployment rate in Kentucky is 11%


• 39%, of the homeless are children.
• 45% of children who are homeless are under the age of 5
• Families are the fastest-growing segment of the homeless population.
• Families with children (as opposed to single homeless people) make up about 30% of the homeless population nationally.
• Single men comprise 51% of the urban homeless population.
• Single women comprise about 17%.
• Unaccompanied children make up about 2% of the homeless population.

• The homeless population is 49% African-American, 35% Caucasian, 13% Hispanic, 2% Native American, and 1% Asian.
• The ethnic makeup of homeless populations varies according to geographic location. People experiencing homelessness in rural areas are much more likely to be white; homelessness among Native Americans and migrant workers is also largely a rural phenomenon.

• 34% of the total male US population are veterans
• 13% of the total homeless population are veterans

Mental Illness
• About 16% of the homeless in the U.S. have severe chronic mental illness.

Substance Abuse

• About 26% of the homeless population suffers from some form of drug or alcohol abuse.

Hate Crimes
• From 1999 through 2005, there were 472 documented hate crimes against homeless people, with 169 of those resulting in death.

• Minimum wage is currently $7.30/hr. in Ohio
• The minimum wage in 1979, when adjusted for inflation, was $7.40
• 80% of low-wage workers do not get health insurance.
• The U.S. Conference of Mayors reported, in 2006, that 13% of the urban homeless population was employed.
• In a number of other cities, the percentage is even higher. The National Coalition for the Homeless found, in 2001, that 42% of people experiencing homelessness are employed. Many of these workers are employed by day labor agencies, characterized by low pay, no job security, no health insurance, and inadequate worker protections.

Affordable Housing

• The federal government says affordable housing should take no more than 30% of a person’s income.
• No one earning minimum wage in any US state can afford a one or two-bedroom apartment at Fair Market Rent.
• In 1999, the national two-bedroom housing wage was $11.08; in 2006, the national housing wage was $16.31, a
47% increase.
• Between 1973 and 1993, 2.2 million low-rent units disappeared from the market.
• The lack of affordable housing is widely considered to be the main cause of homelessness in the United States today.

In Cincinnati

• Approximately 25,000 people experience homelessness each year.
• Between 1986 and 2000, the homeless population increased 150%.
• The top two reasons people report for becoming homeless in Cincinnati are the lack of affordable housing and loss of income.
• 12% of homeless women in Cincinnati are homeless as a result of domestic violence, the third highest reported cause of homelessness for women.
• One quarter of the homeless population in Cincinnati are children.
• African Americans make up 43% of Cincinnati’s total population.
• African Americans make up 70% of Cincinnati’s homeless population.
• 30-35% of the homeless in Cincinnati have substance abuse issues
• 60% of homeless men and 45% of homeless women work
• 60% of homeless men and 49% of homeless women are high school graduates; almost 5% of men and 4% of women have college degrees.