Homelessness in the United States

Understanding the difference

There are two different types of homeless people in the U.S. 85% are experiencing "primary homelessness" which is an individual without a home who depends on supervised public or private facilities at night such as homeless shelters, abandoned buildings, or vehicles. The other 15% are what people refer to as "chronically homeless" which means these individuals have been homeless more than once and they do not depend on shelters to help them live.

Typical reasons leading to homelessness

Throughout America people struggle day in and day out to keep up with their bills. Most Americans have a family of three to more and they are working jobs at minimum wage. This is a struggle because of the low income they have coming into their house. Medical care is another big reason leading to homelessness. More than half of homeless people have some type of illness that cannot be treated because they cannot afford it.

Strategy to end homelessness

The government has made a very efficient program to help all homeless people get back onto their feet. The program is called Housing-First and it has spread its way across America. This program has helped homeless people overcome any milestone such as a drug or alcohol addiction and even help them with their job interviews and the possibility to get a house of their own.

New Orleans

New Orleans was the first city in the United States to give a home to every homeless veteran in their city a place to call their own. They have provided 277 homes since the beginning of 2014. They bought out a whole apartment complex to specifically give homes to every veteran. Part of the reason this goal was so easy to achieve was because the number of homeless veterans in their city was much smaller than the ones around them, even though 200 is a large number.

How can you help?

As you would think living on the streets or in abandoned building is not fun, or is it easy to get by. Every homeless shelter accepts any type of donations. Clothes, utensils, books to pass the time, shoes, ect. It is harder for them to cook food without utensils and much harder for them to stay warm in the winter. Books are mainly used because it gets more boring than usual staying on the streets if they don't have a job or anywhere to go.


Referring to my last slide it is much harder for a homeless person to find a job with their image. They are wearing the same clothes everyday because they don't have that much to choose from. Going into and interview this person could be extremely intelligent but by their image it is hard for anyone to believe so. Thier image could also make them look rather mean because of the amount of showers they can take, shaving, or brushing their hair or teeth. This is why its always okay to donate to help out.


Naturally walking down a street people like to jump to conclusions as to why someone is homeless if they saw them. They stereotype them as, "they're a druggy" or "they killed someone" or just flat out "they're a bum". It's honestly the most stereotypical thing anyone can say. Although 68% of homeless people are some sort of drug addict doesn't mean that at one point they weren't. Some people could have lost their jobs or just have terrible income and this goes back to their image. They aren't very clean but that also doesn't mean they're a druggy, murderer, or a bum. It's hard to get your life on track when you're stereotyped by your image.

Turned Away

A huge reason it is so hard for the homeless to get back up to their feet is because of their under budget jobs. People who are homeless look for very cheap places to call their own just to help them back on their feet. Many small towns have cheap and affordable places to rent. But within a year 52% of cities turn away any new population because they don't have the capacity to accept new people.


39% of the homeless population or 1.7 million teenagers running from the ages 14 to under 18 are currently homeless. Up to 5,000 teens die every year due to assault, suicide, or illness while living out on the street. 50% of teens report that when they ran away from home their parents knew about it and didn't say anything or their parents told them to leave.

Barry's Story

Barry became homeless the day of his 18th birthday. Barry had a nasty relationship with any kind of alcohol he could get his hands on. Barry was out living in the streets for 5 years. At one point he was sleeping outside in his sleeping bag and someone set him on fire. This is then that Barry decided he should really try to get his life back on track. He found a small job and had two children, he was married for 15 years until his drinking problem became out of control again. He ended up living in a small hotel after his wife and children left him. Since then Barry has signed himself up for a rehab and detox program and he is going to make sure he doesn't go down that path ever again.