The causes and conditions that lead to homelessness are many and complex. Problems such as domestic violence, addiction, financial hardship, eviction, disability and mental illness can lead to or cause sudden changes in life situations, leaving adults, children, families or veterans without shelter, food or medical care.
According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, 567,715 people were homeless in 2019. As these are the latest numbers available at a national level and the COVID-19 pandemic had a dramatic impact on the world’s population in 2020, these numbers could potentially be much higher in 2020 and 2021. The homeless are already much more likely to suffer from chronic illness than those who are housed, and the pandemic has put the most vulnerable members of an already vulnerable population at greater risk.
The problem of homelessness also has a disproportionate impact on minorities. LGBTQ youth suffer from one of the highest homelessness rates. 40% of people who have access to services identify as LGBTQ.
Much of the funding for government programs comes from federal grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Although federal funding is accessed for services other than those providing protection as the primary resource, many homeless shelters, food banks, and free or low-cost medical clinics remain functional through multiple funding and personnel flows, including drawing on private volunteer donations and corporate partnerships. Medical services in particular are only slightly financed from federal funds.
Although there are numerous phone numbers to call, from local 211 hotlines to national crisis centers, many homeless people have difficulty accessing resources, transitioning into programs – some of which have strict protocols for maintaining alcohol and drug abstinence – or on participate in other treatment programs. Stacker has compiled a list of resources in each state that can help house and care for the local homeless using a variety of government, private, nonprofit, nonprofit, and academic sources.
Click through to find out how your state is helping to alleviate homelessness.
[Pictured: An aerial view of San Francisco’s first temporary sanctioned tent encampment for the homeless on May 18, 2020.]
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