General Homelessness Facts

On any given night, there are approximately 643,067 people experiencing homelessness in America.

238,110 of those people are in families
25% suffer from mental illness, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and depression
17% are considered chronically homeless
13% are fleeing domestic violence
12% are veterans

What does "homeless" mean?

The Department of Housing and Urban Development defines homelessness in four broad categories:

Who is at risk of homelessness?

The face of homelessness is changing. Though veterans, people with disabilities, and single parent families have always been at high-risk for homelessness, today, more and more of our country’s working poor are struggling with or at risk of homelessness. People recently released from prison and young adults who have recently been emancipated (or aged-out) from the foster care system are also at increased risk of homelessness. And, in Central Texas, the fastest growing homeless population is women and children.

What does it mean to be "chronically homeless?"

A "chronically homeless" person is defined as "an unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition who has either been continuously homeless for a year or more, or has had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years."
Although chronic homelessness represents a small share of the overall homeless population (approximately 123,790 chronically homeless individuals nationwide on any given night), chronically homeless people use up a significantly disproportionate share of the services. Many chronically homeless people have a serious mental illness like schizophrenia and/or an alcohol or drug addiction.

What does doubled-up mean?

Doubled-up refers to people who live with friends, family or other nonrelatives for economic reasons. This population has been steadily rising in recent years, having increased by more than 50% from 2005 to 2010. In 2010, it was estimated that 6.8 million people were living doubled-up.

What can I do about it?

No matter if you are mentally ill, suffering from an addiction, or physically disabled: low incomes and high housing costs are the root causes of homelessness. In fact, recent study shows that nowhere in the United States can someone who works 40 hours a week at minimum wage afford a one bedroom apartment at fair market rent. In Central Texas, a person needs to work 88/week earning minimum wage to afford a one-bedroom apartment at fair market rent. By 2020, the city of Austin will need to develop 12,000 rental units priced at $425 or less to meet the growing needs of low-income renters. In short, the need for affordable housing is savagely acute in Central Texas and across the state.

Green Doors creates quality, affordable housing and connects residents with the opportunities they need to succeed. Investing in Green Doors is an investment in your community.


  1. The National Alliance to End Homelessness
  2. Center for Public Policy Priorities