Individuals Experiencing Chronic/Long-Term Homelessness

This resource provides current statistics about individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.

Individuals Experiencing Chronic/Long-Term Homelessness

On a given night in January 2010i:

  • 109,812 individuals were chronically homeless

Of people utilizing emergency shelters between October 2009 and September 2010, 6.2% stayed for 6 months or longer.

Gender, Age, Race/Ethnicity

Among long-term stayers (persons staying six months or more) in emergency shelters in 2008ii:

  • 56.6% were Black/African-American
  • 28.7% were Hispanic/Latino1

A study conducted in New York City and Philadelphia indicated that people experiencing chronic homelessness were predominately Black and maleiii:

  • In New York City, 92.9% were Black and 82.3% were male
  • In Philadelphia, 92.9% were Black and 71.1% were male

Among people enrolled in programs addressing chronic homelessness, about 50% are African Americaniv.

Data from the 1996 NSHAPC study showed that:

  • 67-80% were malev
  • 60% were middle-aged (35-44 years old)vi

Mental Illness & Substance Use

Data from research conducted in the past five years indicates thatvii viii ix:

  • About 30% of people who are chronically homeless have mental health conditions.
  • About 50% have co-occurring substance use problems.

According to analyses of data from the 1996 NSHAPCx:

  • Over 60% of people who are chronically homelessness have experienced lifetime mental health problems
  • Over 80% have experienced lifetime alcohol and/or drug problems

View the HRC's additional factsheets:



Publication Date: 
Rockville, MD, USA