Here are a few of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) about homelessness and the Alliance’s role in helping to end homelessness in America.
Q: How many people are homeless?
A: On a given night in 2022, at least 582,462 people experienced homelessness in the U.S.
Throughout the calendar year 2020, an estimated 1,253,000 people occupied emergency shelters, transitional housing programs, or safe havens. (Note that due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many shelters closed or reduced bed capacity as a health precaution, and some people may have also avoided congregate shelters for health and safety reasons. This likely results in a lower than usual total).
The Department of Housing and Urban Development, Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Veterans Affairs consider a person to be homeless if they are sleeping outside, in a place not meant for human habitation such as a car or abandoned building, or in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program. Other federal agencies have different definitions for homelessness.
Q: Who experiences homelessness?
A: On a single night in 2022, an estimated:
- 161,070 people in families, including children, experienced homelessness.
- 421,392 single individual adults experienced homelessness.
- 127,768 individuals had chronic patterns of homelessness.
- 33,129 veterans experienced homelessness.
Q: Why do people become homeless?
A: Reasons vary, but the main reason people become homeless is because they cannot find housing they can afford. Other factors can include a chronic health condition, domestic violence and systemic inequality. Read more about the causes of homelessness.
Q: Is there a solution to homelessness?
A: Yes. A home. To end homelessness, the nation will need an adequate supply of housing that is affordable to lower income households. Until that problem is solved, the homeless system will help people quickly return to housing, connect to employment, and get needed services and support. Read more about specific solutions to homelessness.
Q: How is the Alliance helping?
A: The Alliance’s sole focus is ending and preventing homelessness through:
- Research, Data and Education: The Alliance uses research and data to find solutions to homelessness. It informs policymakers, practitioners, and advocates about those solutions.
- Policy: The Alliance works with policymakers to improve homelessness policy and provide resources.
- Capacity: The Alliance’s works directly with communities to implement solutions to homelessness.
Q: Does the Alliance provide services to people experiencing homelessness?
A: No. The Alliance does not provide direct services such as housing or case management. If you are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, please contact your local 2-1-1 hotline or learn about other resources on our How to Get Help page.
Updated April 2023.