According to the most recent Point-in-Time data analyzed in The State of Homelessness: 2020 Edition, 2016 began a trend in the number of individual adults experiencing homelessness, rising annually from that point after six consecutive years of decreases. In the last three years, the number of individuals experiencing homelessness increased 11.5 percent. Unsheltered homelessness is driving these increases: among individual adults, there has been a 25 percent increase in the number of people living unsheltered. However, when reviewing the data by gender, it became clear that some gender-specific groups are showing increases at even greater levels.

Men Experiencing Homelessness

Homelessness among individual men increased 8.5 percent overall since 2016. It is important to note that men make up the largest group of individuals experiencing homelessness. Their numbers increased by 21,527 since 2016, bringing the total to 275, 907 individual men without the housing they need – numbers that continue to grow, even with progress made in other populations (i.e. families).

Women Experiencing Homelessness

Homelessness among individual women increased by 16,500 people to 115,635, almost 17 percent overall, since 2016. Though the actual number of women experiencing homelessness is less than men, their 35 percent increase in their unsheltered homelessness is significantly higher than the increase seen by unsheltered men. The number of individual unsheltered women has increased in 36 states and territories since 2016. New Mexico saw the largest percentage increase, 176%, while California saw the largest increase in the total number of unsheltered individual women during this time growing from 19,452 to 29,190. Eighteen places reduced their numbers of unsheltered women, with Alaska, Mississippi, North Dakota, and Wyoming decreasing 50 percent or more.

Transgender Homelessness

Homelessness among gender minorities is increasing at a staggering pace. Since 2016, homelessness among transgender people increased 88% overall, with unsheltered homelessness among trans people increasing 113 percent, the most significant subpopulation increase, though the actual numbers are much smaller than that of cisgender people. Importantly, experts suggest that the number of transgender people counted at a Point-in-Time is an undercount of the actual number experiencing homelessness, and that LGBTQ youth in particular have a 120% increased risk of becoming homeless. The data tells us trans youth are more likely to be unsheltered than their cisgender peers. they are more likely to be unsheltered than their cisgender peers.

Read the full article about individual homelessness by Jackie Janosko at National Alliance to End Homelessness.