In the United States
Housing is a fundamental component of the foundation upon which lives are built, and lack of stable housing creates insecurity and instability in all aspects of a family’s or individual’s life. Nationwide, homelessness has increased since the 1980s as a result of numerous converging issues: decreases in affordable housing and increases in foreclosures; wages and public assistance not keeping pace with rising housing costs and cost of living, partially due to job loss and/or underemployment and subsequent debt; and closures of psychiatric institutions without creation of adequate community-based housing and services.
The most recently published Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress (AHAR) documents that in the United States on a single night in January 2014, 578,424 people were experiencing homelessness, including 177,373 unsheltered persons and 401,051 sheltered persons. The report also shows that homelessness is concentrated in several states and large cities – about one in five persons experiencing homelessness stays in New York City or Los Angeles, and 50 percent of people experiencing homelessness were counted in California, New York, Florida, Texas, and Massachusetts (compared to about 35 percent of Americans residing in these states).
You can learn more about homelessness in the United States here:
 United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. 2015. Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness [as amended in 2015].
 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. 2015. 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report.