Race, ethnicity, and homelessness are thoroughly intertwined. This conclusion has been leaping out of data reported by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in recent years, and analyzed in the Alliance’s annual State of Homelessness report. Perhaps most notably, people of color are more likely to experience homelessness. But recent data reflects the systemic nature of racial disparities in people experiencing homelessness. The 2020 Edition of the State of Homelessness includes some notable new features to help illustrate these disparities.

Native Americans: Unsheltered homelessness is elevated among Native American individuals. Fifty-six percent are sleeping in locations not meant for human habitation. This number is much higher than what exists for groups like Black people (25 percent) and homeless individuals overall (37 percent).

Black People: Families play a significant role within black homelessness. Forty percent of black people experiencing homelessness are a part of families with children. Families have much smaller representation within groups like White people (22 percent) and American Indians (20 percent). If the representation of families within black homelessness resembled these other groups, the black rate of homelessness would drop from 55 to 42 people per 10,000.

Hispanics/Latinxs: Relative to other groups, Hispanics/Latinxs have low rates of homelessness. However, since 2016, unsheltered homelessness among individuals in the group has grown by 50 percent. This number far surpasses most other subgroups, and the 25 percent increase in overall unsheltered homelessness increase over the same period.
Asians: Most Asian homelessness (76 percent) is found in five states and a territory—California, New York, Hawaii, Washington, Texas, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

Pacific Islanders: Pacific Islander numbers exceed others in many of the above areas. As previously noted, it is the racial/ethnic group with the highest national-level rate of homelessness. Pacific Islanders are the only racial/ethnic group that has a higher rate (57 percent) of unsheltered individual homelessness than Native Americans. And it is the only group that has a higher representation of families (45 percent) than Black people.

Read the full article about race and homelessness at National Alliance to End Homelessness.