More People Are Homeless Than You Think

I got in a bit of an argument last night about the scope of the homeless problem in the United States. As with poverty in general, I’ve discovered most people underestimate the numbers.

How many people are homeless? Why? Over a five-year period, about 2–3 percent of the U.S. population (5–8 million people) will experience at least one night of homelessness.”

Yeah. 5-8 million people. And those are the numbers that the US government is willing to admit to (which probably means that the real numbers are significantly higher).

SAMHSA Matrix: SAMHSA Homelessness: Statistics and Data


2 thoughts on “More People Are Homeless Than You Think

  1. Experiencing one night of homelessness in a five year period I don’t see really making a “homeless” person. I have seen many a friend or relative that fit into this category, but through their own strengths and the help and genorosity of others, they never experienced true homelessness (i.e. living in a box, and begging for change). Statistics like that do not present an accurate depiction of our situation.

  2. Depends on what you mean by “accurate depiction of our situation.” Yes, I have had many a friend and relative that fit into the at least one night category as well. And as you said, through their own strengths and the help and generosity of others, they got out of it.

    But what about people who have no others to help and be generous towards them?

    I’m absolutely sure that some fraction of the bum/beggars are in their situation due to their own fault alone. But too many people don’t have any friends or relatives that fit into the “one night” category. Hence, they don’t ever see homelessness as a problem firsthand. So why should they do anything to help anyone?

    I’m definitely not advocating just giving money to people begging. But all some people need is a little help, and a chance. How many places will hire someone who has no where to live?

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