How many people are homeless

  • 637,000 adults on a given week SAMHSA (1996);
  • 2.1 million adults in a given year. (SAMHSA (1996); 3.5 million at some point during the year. NH

How long people remain homeless (1996) SAMHSA:

  • 80% exit homelessness within 3 weeks;
  • 10% stay homeless for up to 2 months;
  • 10% are "chronically" homeless.

Who make up the homeless SAMSHA:

  • 66% are single adults;
  • 11% are parents with children;
  • 23% are children under 18 with a parent;
  • 40% are families (according to U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2003 as published by NH);
  • 39% are children (according to Urban Institute, as published by NH).

Ethnic Background NH

  • 49% African American
  • 35% Caucasian
  • 13% Hispanic

Drug and mental health problems SAMSHA

  • 38% have alcohol use problems;
  • 26% have other drug use problems;
  • 39% have mental health problems;
  • 66% report either substance use and/or mental health problems.


  • 44% of homeless work at least part time.

Where the facts are from:

Other sites for more info:

Updated March 2007

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Posted In


In a number of recent surveys by news agencies such as CNN, FOX, etc., it was reported that among Americans:

37% believe in Bigfoot -59% in Aliens (Space), 22% in Martians specifically -38% in the Loch Ness Monster -13% in Elves, 8% in Goblins, & 6% in Dwarves - 16% in Vampires & 12% in Werewolves (Both as portrayed in lore)


Thus, premised on my information from reputable sources, the question is,...do you believe in any of them?


If the answer is "no" to any one of the above then, from a purely scientific perspective, how are these figures displayed under "homelessness" to be believed? I would argue that unless the methodology of just how these numbers were gathered is available, they have no relevance to being the "facts" this website purports they are.

Having been involved with government/homeless coalition committee's in a large urban area I saw first hand how the "studies" were done and the "counts" were made.

In virtually all new "reports" the coalition people would drive around at later hours at night and very early hours of the morning looking for people sitting in bus stations, at all-night restaurants, walking solo on main streets, and sitting in chairs at our international airport. These folks were rarely asked WHY they were where they were, yet still tallied as being "homeless". And the reason why they didn't ask them any questions; because of the concern it might "embarrass them".

You should understand this comment has nothing to do with helping homeless people...TRULY homeless people...and everything to do with posting information as "fact" when, in reality, it is little more factual than, well, Martians among us.


a random Joe (not verified) | September 1, 2008 - 4:32pm