Homelessness is a big problem across the United States. The number and composition of the homeless population has fluctuated over the years, reflecting changes in economic conditions. Skid rows in large cities have long been a fixture. Nevertheless, it can be difficult to find affordable housing and other services. Homeless people need housing, and many of them lack the money to afford it.
There are many reasons why people become homeless. Lack of housing, lack of an official address, or other factors are among the main causes. Regardless of the cause, homelessness affects a person’s economic, social, and political rights. However, there are few laws addressing the problem. For example, few states have laws protecting the rights of the homeless and ensuring that all citizens have adequate housing. In addition, few courts have taken the bold step of requiring public authorities to eliminate homelessness.
Some people become homeless because of personal hardships. A war or natural disaster may make people lose their homes. Others become homeless because of domestic abuse. However, it is important to remember that most of the people who become homeless do not have mental illnesses. Their condition is often caused by a lack of resources and a lack of support.
The numbers of people who are homeless are difficult to measure, but there are some indicators to guide policy. One measure is the number of homeless people living in a given area. The Census Bureau calculates rates based on demographic groups and racial/ethnicity. The numbers of severely-housing-cost burdened households have risen by 39 percent since 2007. In some cities, the numbers have doubled, while those in Florida and Idaho have nearly tripled.
Homelessness affects many people, but some groups are at higher risk than others. A study published by Brickner et al. found that a person is likely to become homeless if they are a minority. Hispanics account for around 8% of the population, and the proportion of homeless Latinos is even higher.
The number of homeless people is growing in the United States and the composition of the homeless is changing. A larger proportion of the homeless population is made up of families with children. Middle-aged men represent a decreasing proportion of the homeless population, while youths and families with young children are the fastest growing segment. In addition to demographic changes, geographic dispersion of homeless people is changing as well. More homeless people are showing up in places previously unseen.
Counting the homeless population is a complex task, since it affects different populations. A quarter of the homeless population is a child. Twenty-three percent of the homeless population is a family. However, one-third of all unsheltered individuals are adults.