Not since the Great Depression have so many American families been without homes. Families are the fastest growing subpopulation of those experiencing homelessness (Sermons & Witte, 2011), representing over one-third of the total homeless population in the United States. Approximately 242,000 people in families experienced literal homelessness on a given night in 2010, and family homelessness increased 20 percent from 2007 to 2010 according to the Annual Homelessness Assessment Report (US Department of Housing and Urban Development [HUD], 2011).
HUD’s report demonstrates that the portrait of homelessness differs signiﬁcantly by household type, i.e., people homeless by themselves are very different from those who are homeless as part of a family. Homeless individuals are more likely to be white men, over the age of 30, and have a disabling condition. In contrast, adults in families are more likely to be minorities and substantially less likely to have a reported disability. Almost 60 percent of those in homeless families are children under the age of 18, and the majority of adults in families are age 30 or younger (HUD, 2011).