Family Homelessness

Why Are Families Homeless in the U.S.?

When the average person thinks about homelessness, they usually think of a single person living on the street. However, there are many families who are homeless, too—in every part the U.S.—all states in rural, suburban, and urban areas.

The typical homeless family is a single mother in her 20’s with two young children. Homeless mothers are more likely to be depressed and have a history of trauma that began in childhood compared to mothers in the general population. Families of color are more likely to be homeless than white families. Compared to children with homes, homeless children are more likely to have:

  • Asthma
  • Frequent sicknesses
  • Challenges in school

Families become homeless for many reasons. The U.S. has very high rates of poverty–and families living in poverty are at greater risk of becoming homeless. Most mothers who experience homelessness have limited education, so finding a job that pays enough to cover rent and other expenses is challenging—and many times impossible. Many homeless families have experienced violence and other traumas. Homeless women are often fleeing from violent partners and have no safe options. When these experiences meet with the reality of high housing costs, avoiding homelessness becomes extremely hard.