Numbers Detailing Homelessness Tell a Poignant Story

Jessie’s Homes for Families, which partners with Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, is working to build high-quality transitional housing for homeless families in the Denver area. Such programs greatly assist in providing services for people in need across the country, but the statistics on homelessness in the United States continue to illustrate a long-term problem.

The State of Homelessness in America 2013, prepared by the nonprofit advocacy group National Alliance to End Homelessness, looked at the issue against the background of larger economic, demographic, population, and housing factors. Examining data from 2011 to 2013, the report found that overall homelessness declined by less than 1 percent. And homelessness among military veterans, as well as chronic homelessness among individuals in all groups, declined significantly.

Yet homelessness among families continued to rise, showing the mixed success of recent federal policies that have specifically attempted to offer long-term solutions to those who are chronically homeless and to veterans. From 2011 to 2012, the number of individuals in homeless families rose by 1.4 percent.

Nationwide, from 2011 to 2012, there were about 20 people without homes in the United States for every 10,000 other individuals in the general population. Of these homeless individuals, close to 40 percent were living on the street, in vehicles, or in abandoned structures.

In Colorado specifically, the number of homeless individuals grew by well over 10 percent between 2011 and 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. And the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative found that the number of people sleeping outdoors or in the streets out of necessity increased by more than 100 percent over the same period. Jessie’s Homes for Families works on a local level to provide long-lasting solutions to this major national problem.

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