Below are links to some of the various resources I’ve used in gathering data and statistics on homelessness in the U.S. This is not and “exhaustive” list — nor is it intended to be. However, it should be enough to help get you started.
Nat’l Homeless Advocacy Organizations
National Coalition for the Homeless
Founded in 1982, the National Coalition for the Homeless is one of America’s oldest homeless advocacy groups. The NCH website contains numerous factsheets, reports, and a variety of publications all related to homelessness in the U.S.
National Alliance to End Homelessness
Founded in 1983 as the Citizens Committee for Food and Shelter — and renamed in 1987 — the National Alliance to End Homelessness has become one of the nation’s leading voices for proactive solutions to ending homeless in America. The NAEH website contains reports, studies and other information regarding homelessness.
National Center on Family Homelessness
Established in 1988, the National Center on Family Homelessness has sought to bring awareness regarding homelessness in the U.S. — particularly family and childhood homelessness — and is engages in conducting research for best practices to solve homelessness.
National Coalition for Homeless Veterans
Organized in 1990, the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans’ mission is aimed at ” . . . [ending] homelessness among Veterans by shaping public policy, promoting collaboration, and building the capacity of service providers.” The NCHV website is a good source of data and information regarding homelessness among Veterans in the U.S.
National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty
Established in 1989, the goal of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty is ” . . . to prevent and end homelessness by serving as the legal arm of the nationwide movement to end homelessness.” The NLCHP website includes reports, publications — as well as legal perspective on legislative practices (positive and negative) as they relate to homelessness in the U.S.
U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH)
The USICH was authorized under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. It is part of the Executive Branch of the Federal Government whose purpose is to “. . . review the effectiveness of federal activities and programs to assist people experiencing homelessness, promote better coordination among agency programs, and inform state and local governments and public and private sector organizations about the availability of federal homeless assistance.”
U.S. Dept of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
HUD is one of a number of Federal agencies working toward remedying homelessness in the nation. The section of its website devoted to homelessness contains a number of links that provide useful information. HUD is also the Federal agency that is responsible for collecting and collating data from “Point-In-Time” (PIT) counts that occurs across the nation. This data is then presented in an annual report known as the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) and contains information regarding the demographics of the nation’s homeless population.
HUD’s Homelessness Resource Exchange
The Homelessness Resource Exchange is a part of the U.S. Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration. Their goal is to ” . . . improve the lives of people affected by homelessness who have mental health conditions, substance use issues, and histories of trauma.” The HRE website hosts a wealth of information — including an online “digital library” with such topics as: Cost of Homelessness, Homelessness Prevention, Homeless Populations, et cetera.
SAMHSA’s Homelessness Resource Center
The Homelessness Resource Center is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration. It’s primary goal is “. . . to improve the lives of people affected by homelessness who have mental health conditions, substance use issues, and histories of trauma.”
Reports & Legislation
McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act (42 U.S.C. § 11301)
The Wikipedia entry for the McKinney-Vento Act describes it this way: “The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987 is a United States federal law that provides federal money for homeless shelter programs. It was the first significant federal legislative response to homelessness, and was passed and signed into law by President Ronald Reagan on July 22, 1987. The act has been reauthorized several times over the years . . . It established the Interagency Council on the Homeless (later called the Interagency Council on Homelessness). The legislation has been amended several times since it was first written and enacted.”
HUD’s Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR)
The Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) provides national estimates regarding the numbers of Americans who experience homeless each year. The numbers are based on data obtained through Point-in-Time counts submitted by local communities across the nation. The latest AHAR (2010) also provides “. . . data on the first year of the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP), funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.” (For more information about HRPR, see here and here. Also, you can find a Summary of the 2010 AHAR, prepared by the National Coalition for the Homeless, by going here.)
U.S. Conference of Mayors – Hunger and Homelessness Survey (PDF Format)
According to its website, the U.S. Conference of Mayors, is “. . . the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are 1,191 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor.” Each year, the USCM releases its Hunger and Homelessness Survey — detailing its findings regarding homelessness.
The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities
The Criminalization of Homelessness in U.S. Cities is a collaborative report of the National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. It outlines legislative measures across the nation which criminalize homelessness, as well as a number of legal challenges to those local ordinances.
Reports/Studies by Dr. Dennis Culhane
Dr. Culhane is a Professor at the University of Pennsylvania, whose “. . . primary area of research is homelessness and assisted housing policy. His research has contributed to efforts to address the housing and support needs of people experiencing housing emergencies and long-term homelessness.”
Solutions For America: Statistics and Prevention Programs
The Solutions for America website has a number of links to a number of reports dealing with such topics as Homeless Prevention, Ending Homelessness, et cetera.