Homelessness & Families
Single Mothers Need SWH
HOMELESSNESS & FAMILIES
Among industrialized nations, the United States has the largest number of homeless women and children. Not since the Great Depression have so many families been without homes. The statistics below are the best estimates of the extent of homelessness, but it is important to note that they are undercounts.
- Homeless families comprise roughly 34% of the total U.S. homeless population
- Approximately 1.35 million children will experience homelessness over the course of a year. In any given day, researchers estimate that more than 200,000 children have no place to live
People counted in the single adult homeless population (about 2.3-3.5 million annually) are also part of families:
- Among all homeless women, 60% have children under age 18, but only 65% of them live with at least one of their children
- Among all homeless men, 41% have children under age 18, but only 7% live with at least one of their children
Who are homeless families?
The typical sheltered homeless family is comprised of a mother in her late twenties with two children.
84% of families experiencing homelessness are female-headed. This is due to a number of factors:
- Most single-parent families are female-headed (71%). Single-parent families are among the poorest in the nation and as such, are extremely vulnerable to homelessness
- Many family shelters do not accept men into their programs, causing families to separate when they become homeless
- Families of color are overrepresented in the homeless population. Nationally:
- 43% are African-American
- 15% are Hispanic
- 8% are White, non Hispanic
- 3% are Native American
Families experiencing homelessness usually have limited education:
- 53% of homeless mothers do not have a high school diploma 29% of adults in homeless families are working
What are the experiences of homeless mothers?
The impact of homelessness on mothers is profound. Many experience anger, self blame, sadness, fear, and hopelessness. Mothers experiencing homelessness have significant histories of interpersonal violence. For them, the experience of becoming homeless is another major stressor amidst already complicated traumatic experiences.