About Homelessness
  • Approximately 2.3 - 3.5 million people are homeless each year in U.S. (Urban Institute)
  • 12 million adults in U.S. currently are or have been homeless at some point in their lives. (National Coalition for the Homeless)
  • The largest and fastest growing group of homeless folks are families with children, comprising 40% of the homeless population, mostly with single mother head of household. Average homeless family has 2.2 children. (HUD)
  • 33% of homeless men are veterans. (HUD)
  • 22% of single adult homeless population suffer from severe and persistent mental illness. (U.S. Conference of Mayors, 2001)
Demand for Services
  • In 1993 Operation Nightwatch served an average of 49 clients per night; in 2003 they served over 100 nightly - providing food, shelter placement, permanent housing, emergency care, hotel vouchers, and personal care items.
  • The 2002 Street Count found 2,040 people on the street in Seattle/King County. On any given night there are 7,980 homeless in Seattle/King County.
  • Of the 7,980, only 4,675 were able to find emergency shelter for the night.
  • In 1999 there was a 12% increase in requests for shelter, 18% increase in requests for food assistance. (US Conference of Mayors)
Causes of Homelessness
  • Wage earners must make $12.29 an hour for 40 hours a week to afford the average one-bedroom apartment in King County. (reported in Seattle Times, 9/24/00)
  • Between 1993 and 1995 the number of units affordable to low-income renters dropped by 900,000 units nationwide. (National Low Income Housing Coalition)
  • In 315 of 399 U.S. metropolitan areas, 40% or more of renters cannot afford the fair market rent for a two-bedroom unit. (NLIHC)
  • Minimum wage workers cannot afford a two-bedroom apartment anywhere in the U.S.
  • In 1998, applicants waited an average of 28 months for a Section 8 rental assistance voucher. (HUD)
  • 20 - 25% of homeless adults have severe and persistent mental illness. (National Coalition for the Homeless)
  • 50% of homeless women and children are fleeing domestic abuse. (NCH)
  • 32% of requests for shelter by homeless families were denied due to lack of resources. (US Conference of Mayors)
  • 46% of homeless have chronic health conditions, and only 45% have medical insurance. (HUD)
  • 40% went one or more days in the past month without anything to eat. (HUD)
P.O Box 21181 . Seattle, WA 98111 . 206-323-4359

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