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Homelessness: Who is it hurting the most?

Geography, gender, and race each play a role in the number of homeless people in the country.
Geography, gender, and race each play a role in the number of homeless people in the country.
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Depending on where you live in the United States, homelessness can seem like a never-ending problem or an issue that gets blown out of proportion. Geography does significantly affect homelessness, but race, gender, and what someone has done in their past life also play important roles.

In general, the coastal areas of the United States struggled with homelessness far more than the middle of the country, according to numbers from 2019. The states with the highest number of homeless people last year, in order, were California, New York, Florida, Texas, Washington, Massachusetts, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Ohio, and Arizona. All of these states had more than 10,000 homeless people on a given night, according to a count done in January 2019. California maxed out the list with over 150,000, with New York being a distant second place at about 92,000.

The type of neighborhood matters too. According to the 2019 Point in Time count, 17.6% of the country's homeless population lived in largely rural areas. Meanwhile, 52.1% of people experiencing homelessness lived in the 50 largest cities in the U.S. The rural percentage hardly changed from 2018 to 2019, but homelessness in big cities rose by almost 5%.

Some members of the homeless population have it better than others. Unsheltered individuals live in places that aren't normally residences, such as cars, parks, or abandoned buildings. 63% of the homeless in 2019 lived in either an emergency shelter or some type of transitional housing, while 37% were considered unsheltered. More than half of the unsheltered homeless people in the U.S. were in California.

Breaking things down to the personal level, the 2019 homeless population was predominately 60.5% male compared to 38.7% female. The white and African American demographics accounted for the majority of the homelessness counts. 47.7% of the homeless population was white, while 39.8% was African American. Multi-racial people made up 6.5% of the homeless population. Meanwhile, whites made up 56.6% of the unsheltered group, with African Americans at a close second place with 47.5%.

A vast majority of the homeless are adults over the age of 24, but a sad statistic to note is that half of the people under the age of 25 are unaccompanied and unsheltered.

Former military members may struggle returning to society if they have complications from post-traumatic stress disorder, but the overall numbers show that they are finding ways to succeed after their service term ends. Veteran homelessness decreased slightly between 2018 and 2019, but it has gone down by about 50% in the last decade. Veterans accounted for about 8% of the homeless adult population in 2019.

Meanwhile, formerly incarcerated people have a much tougher time after they finish their prison sentence. People who have spent time in jail are homeless at least seven times more often than the general public. Women are more likely than men to be homeless if they've been incarcerated during their lives. Formerly imprisoned African Americans and Hispanics outpace their white counterparts in homelessness as well.

Regardless of demographic, homelessness affects hundreds of thousands of people each year in the United States. It is a problem that must be solved from multiple angles because so many different people experience it. Your time, donations, and awareness can make a difference.

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Street Auto Group is committed to helping the homeless and housing insecure neighbors in the Amarillo area. Street Auto Group is passionate about giving back to those in need. They believe people in the Amarillo community who are adrift and who have been tossed around in a sea of bad fortune deserve support from everyone.

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