Understanding the identities and stages of life that can shape a homeless person's experience can help guide more impactful solutions.

Family Homelessness:

Addressing family homelessness is essential for ensuring the futures of children who grow up without stable housing, creating lifelong barriers to success:

  • Why We Need To Protect The Youngest Children From Homelessness
    National Alliance to End Homelessness
    The best thing that homeless service systems can do for young children is to help them and their parents reconnect quickly to permanent housing and prevent them from ever experiencing a night without a roof over their head.

Women cite the need for help with their housing and childcare to ensure their own futures and the future of their children:

Students directly benefit in their education when schools support their families in finding and keeping housing:

  • Family-School Ties At Center Of Homelessness Prevention Program
    Education Dive
    In 2011, the Tacoma Public Schools (TPS) in Washington and the Tacoma Housing Authority (THA) formed a partnership with a simple goal in mind — reduce high student mobility by providing low-income families with housing assistance so they could keep their children in the same school.
Youth Homelessness:

Homeless youth face particular challenges as they struggle to navigate adolescence without support from their families and communities. These young adults present an opportunity to avert lifetimes of homelessness:

  • Missed Opportunities: Youth Homelessness In America
    Voices of Youth Count
    While the deprivation of housing stability was the common thread in Voices of Youth Count research, the stories of youth homelessness — and the opportunities for intervention — rarely centered on housing alone.

Young people become homeless often when they run away from or are kicked out of the home by parents or a partner:

  • Sofa Surfers In The UK: The Young Hidden Homeless
    The most common reasons for young people resorting to friends’ sofas included parents being unable or unwilling to provide housing, extended family being unable to help and splitting from a partner.

Learn more about youth homelessness at the Raikes Foundation Focus on Youth magazine.

Formerly Incarcerated People and Homelessness:

It can be difficult for formerly incarcerated individuals to find stable and affordable housing:

  • How To Address The Housing Crisis Among Formerly Incarcerated People
    Prison Policy Initiative 
    In this report, we provide the first estimate of homelessness among the 5 million formerly incarcerated people living in the United States, finding that formerly incarcerated people are almost 10 times more likely to be homeless than the general public.

Homelessness is sometimes criminalized which creates a cycle of homelessness and incarceration that is difficult to escape from:

  • Why We Must Not Punish The Homeless For Sleeping Outside
    Global Citizen
    There simply aren’t enough shelters to accommodate everyone who needs them. In 2017, after seven years of steady decline, the US homeless population increased to roughly 554,000 people who slept in cars, tents, or shelters.

Breaking this cycle is essential to getting these individuals permanently housed.

LGBTQ Homelessness:

While things are getting better for LGBTQ people in the United States, we are still a long way from equality:

It is important to understand the issue of LGBTQ homelessness from the individuals who suffer from it:

  • Understanding LGBTQ Youth Homelessness In America
    Voices of Youth Count
    This research brief from Voices of Youth Count (VoYC) shares the experiences of young people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer, and are disproportionally represented among the youth homeless population.
Homelessness Among People of Color:

People of color are more likely to be homeless than their white peers:

  • Findings From Study On Race And Homelessness
    National Alliance to End Homelessness
    Homelessness is not colorblind. People of color are dramatically more likely than their White counterparts to become homeless — even when poverty rates are taken into consideration. This is no surprise given the centuries-old systemic oppression faced by the groups most disproportionately impacted by homelessness: Black and Native Americans.

Next, learn about where people are homeless.