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On any given night in America, anywhere from 700,000 to 2 million people are homeless, according to estimates of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.

According to a December, 2000 report of the US Conference of Mayors:

  • single men comprise 44 percent of the homeless, single women 13 percent, families with children 36 percent, and unaccompanied minors seven percent.
  • the homeless population is about 50 percent African-American, 35 percent white, 12 percent Hispanic, 2 percent Native American and 1 percent Asian.

According to the 1996 National Survey of Homeless Assistance Providers and Clients (NSHAPC):

  • single homeless individuals in 1996 reported an average income of $348 during the last 30 days, about 51 percent of the 1996 federal poverty level of $680/month for one person.
  • 28 percent said they sometimes or often do not get enough to eat, compared with 12 percent of poor American adults.
  • 44 percent did paid work during the past month.
  • 21 percent received income from family members or friends.
  • 66 percent of the homeless have problems with alcohol, drug abuse, or mental illness.
  • 22 percent have been physically assaulted.
  • 7 percent have been sexually assaulted.
  • 38 percent say someone stole money or things directly from them.
  • 30 percent have been homeless for more than two years.


Related information about housing in general is available on the Almanac Housing page.

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