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How Poor People In The US Manage Homelessness, Hunger and Shame


By Gary A. Johnson (Publisher – Black Men In America.com)

December 26, 2021

Publisher’s Note:  The overwhelming data in this article is drawn from public and private sources in the public domain.  In other words, the data is available to anyone who puts forth a reasonable effort to look for it.  In terms of your research, you can go “Light, Heavy or Deep.”  I would estimate my interest level on this topic is extremely high.  My level of effort of research for this article was “medium.”   This data was assembled from sources that drew their information as it was available before COVID-19 and does not accurately reflect the current state of homelessness in America.  This data will not be fully updated until late 2022 or early 2023, leaving a significant hole in available knowledge on homelessness. 

This information came from the National Alliance to End Homelessness.

The Basics

In January 2020, there were 580,466 people experiencing homelessness in America.  Most were individuals (70 percent), and the rest were people living in families with children. They lived in every state and territory, and they reflected the diversity of our country.  Here are few bullet points that I’ve selected to give you a “Reader’s Digest” version of this enormous crisis:

  • People in families with children make up 30 percent of the homeless population. Unaccompanied youth (under age 25) account for six percent of the larger group
  • People experiencing “chronic homelessness” belong to another group often singled out for attention–people with disabilities and people who have been continuously homeless for at least a year and people who have experienced homelessness at least four times in the last three years for a combined length of time of at least a year
  • Chronically homeless individuals are currently 19 percent of the homeless population
  • Military veterans, due to their service to our country, are often analyzed separately from the larger group, and represent only six percent of people experiencing homelessness

Populations Most at Risk

Although the homeless population is diverse, the risk of being homeless is significantly tied to gender, race, and ethnicity. 

  • Males are far more likely to experience homelessness than their female counterparts.  Out of every 10,000 males, 22 are homeless.
  • For women and girls, that number is 13.  Gender disparities are even more evident when the focus is solely on individual adults (the (the most significant subgroup within homelessness)
  • 70 percent of homeless people are men

The following video shows how and what people are doing to survive this crisis.

Race is another significant predictor. As with so many other areas of American life, historically marginalized groups are more likely to be disadvantaged within housing and homelessness spheres. Higher unemployment rates, lower incomes, less access to healthcare, and higher incarceration rates are some of the factors likely contributing to higher rates of homelessness among people of color.

  • Numerically, white people are the largest racial group within homelessness, accounting for more than a quarter-million people.
  • Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders have the highest rate of homelessness (109 out of every 10,000 people).1 Groups such as Native Americans (45 out of every 10,000) and Black or African Americans (52 out of every 10,000) also experience elevated rates. Importantly, these rates are much higher than the nation’s overall rate of homelessness (18 out of every 10,000).

Unsheltered Homelessness

The nation has a system of temporary shelters that reaches many people in need. However, some still sleep in locations not ordinarily designated for that purpose (for example, sidewalks, subway trains, vehicles, or parks). These unsheltered people are considered particularly vulnerable due to their exposure to the elements and lack of safety, among other things.

Homeless programs and systems provide shelter for most people experiencing homelessness (61 percent). However, significant variation exists among subgroups. For example, children are often a priority for homeless services systems. As a result, families with children are least likely to be unsheltered (only ten percent of unsheltered people are living in families with children). However, young people not living with their families do not enjoy the same access to services—50 percent of unaccompanied homeless youth are unsheltered.

Individuals experiencing homelessness on their own are particularly vulnerable. Most (51 percent) live in places not meant for human habitation. Those who are chronically homeless are most likely to be in these circumstances—66 percent are without any shelter at all.

Indicators of Risk

Many Americans live in poverty, amounting to nearly 34 million people or 10.5 percent of the U.S. population. As a result, they struggle to afford necessities such as housing.

“Doubling up” (or sharing the housing of others for economic reasons) is another measure of housing hardship. In 2019, an estimated 3.7 million people were in these situations. Some doubled-up people and families have fragile relationships with their hosts or face other challenges in the home, putting them at risk of homelessness. Over the last six years, the number of doubled-up people has been trending downward but is 3 percent higher than in 2007.  For more charts and data visit my sources and methodology.

40 Quotes That Will Open Your Eyes About Homelessness
Someone making an offering at the church, one of the four types of giving according to the bible.

Published August 14, 2020

Homelessness is something that many people witness but very few are willing to talk about. Even in mainstream media, homeless people are either vilified or glorified. But very few tackle how it really is to become homeless.

In truth, homelessness is a perpetual shame of humanity. It’s a tragedy that there are people who own so many houses they have to hire someone to keep track of it for them. And yet, some people have to sleep on the sidewalk because they can’t afford rent.

Unfortunately, not a lot of people realize this. The common notion is that homelessness is somewhat a choice. That the homeless deserve what they are going through because they didn’t study hard or look for a job. But no, it isn’t like that at all.

There is so much more to homelessness than what the world is telling you. To give you a much better perspective, here are 40 homeless quotes that will open your eyes to the truth about this tragedy:

  1. We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked, and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved, and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty – Mother Teresa
  2. When life gets hard, try to remember: the life you complain about is only a dream to some people – Anonymous
  3. Home is a notion that only nations of the homeless fully appreciate and only the uprooted comprehend. – Wallace Stegner
  4. My life was a wandering; I never had a homeland. It was a matter of being constantly tossed about, without rest; nowhere, and never did I find a home. – Jan Amos Komensky
  5. A castaway in the sea was going down for the third time when he caught sight of a passing ship. Gathering his last strength, he waved frantically and called for help. Someone on board peered at him scornfully and shouted back, “Get a boat!” – Daniel Quinn
  6. It takes a society to combat homelessness, and a strong nation to fight poverty – Wayne Chirisa
  7. Nowhere in the bible did it say, “Only show compassion and empathy to those you can trust.” If we did that, we would be burying homeless people every day. – Shannon L. Adler
  8. Let your love be the kindness to make a homeless person believe that a soul needs something more than just four walls and a ceiling. – Munia Khan
  9. There are millions of homeless people in the world because humanity does not have a proper conscience! – Mehmet Murat Ildan
  10. Home was never a dream for homeless people as they used to have their homes. Living in a home was their reality. Now we need to help them to find the lost reality – again. – Munia Khan
  11. Treat him as a friend and save a life – A homeless man is not a leper. – Sir Kristian Goldmund Aumann
  12. Like you, I know people who drink, people who do drugs, and bosses who have tantrums and treat their subordinates like dirt. They all have good jobs. Were they to become homeless, some of them would surely also become ‘alcoholics,’ ‘addicts,’ or ‘mentally ill. – Elliot Liebow
  13. Homelessness is not a choice, but rather a journey that many find themselves in. – Asa Don Brown
  14. Escaping poverty among the physical barriers is difficult, but with the added emotional toll, it’s almost impossible. It’s not as simple as we’d like to think. – Terence Lester
  15. Homeless exist because billionaires exist. In polarity, there is extreme poverty and extreme wealth. Bridge the gap between the two and you will find balance and an earth that will survive the threat of humanity’s self-imposed climate change. Earth is a reflection of humanity. – Deborah Bravandt
  16. We live in a world where there is so much wealth. There shouldn’t be a homeless person. That’s crazy. – Raheem De Vaughn
  17. You can spend money on new housing for poor people and the homeless, or you can spend it on a football stadium or a golf course. – Jello Biafra
  18. Most people never really sat down and got to know a homeless person but every homeless person is just a real person that was created by God and it is the same kind of different as us; they just have a different story. – Ron Hall
Homeless quotes examples.

19. The worst poverty isn’t about not having enough money to survive. Real poverty is when there is no one in the world who loves you. When there is no other human to make you feel like you matter. As if you aren’t worth the air you breathe. Poverty of love is the worst thing you can be deprived of. – Paige Dearth

20. Homelessness is not just about having a job or an apartment. Too often homelessness is due to a disordered mind. – Danielle Steel

21. After all, a homeless man has reason to cry, everything in the world is pointed against him. – Jack Kerouac

22. Before you ignore another homeless person on the street, just remember that that could be someone’s father or someone’s mother and they have a story. – Syesha Mercado

23. Most homeless kids are on the streets because they have been forced by circumstances that cause them to think that they are safer there than in any home they once knew. – Jewel

24. To save a life is a real and beautiful thing. To make a home for the homeless, yes, it is a thing that must be good; whatever the world may say, it cannot be wrong. – Vincent Van Gogh

25. Poverty is the mother of crime. – Marcus Aurelius

26. When we bear witness when we become the situation — homelessness, poverty, illness, violence, death — the right action arises by itself. – Bernie Glassman

27. Don’t try to drive the homeless into places we find suitable. Help them survive in places they find suitable. – Daniel Quinn

28. People will sooner aid a sick dog lying on the sidewalk than to try to find shelter for a sick person. It’s too much to deal with. – Michael Zaslow

29. One of the toughest jobs we have is convincing some people that we’re not making up this problem. The homeless out here may be harder to see, but they are all around, right beneath the surface. – Dottie Kastigar

30. The world of the homeless is a tough and interesting world. – Paul Dano

31. To those who are struggling. To talk about a struggle, you’re likely to forget about it. To be shown a struggle, you’re likely not to forget it. But, to live through a struggle, you’ll understand it. – Valerie Owens

32. Homelessness is not the result of not having a house, it’s a lack of a soul in a body. – Goitsemang Mvula

33. There is a lot that happens around the world we cannot control. We cannot stop earthquakes, we cannot prevent droughts, and we cannot prevent all conflict, but when we know where the hungry, the homeless and the sick exist, then we can help. – Jan Schakowsky

34. Freedom is meaningless if people cannot put food in their stomachs, if they can have no shelter, if illiteracy and disease continue to dog them. – Nelson Mandela

35. People who are homeless are not social inadequates. They are people without homes. – Sheila McKechnie

36. Not everyone who’s homeless is a drug-addict or in need of mental health care. Some are normal people who’ve been knocked down, and it can happen to you too. Not all of us made bad life choices.  – Sherrilyn Kenyon

37. If sometimes our poor people have had to die of starvation, it is not that God didn’t care for them, but because you and I didn’t give, were not an instrument of love in the hands of God, to give them that bread, to give them that clothing; because we did not recognize him, when once more Christ came in distressing disguise, in the hungry man, in the lonely man, in the homeless child, and seeking for shelter. – Mother Teresa

38. There’s no reason someone who has fought for their country should be homeless or jobless. – Chris Kyle

39. Seven out of ten Americans are one paycheck away from being homeless. – Pras Michel

40. These things become the norm: that some homeless people die of cold on the streets is not news. In contrast, a ten-point drop in the stock markets of some cities is a tragedy. – Pope Francis

Donate To The Poor Online

Our Father’s House Soup Kitchen has fed the poor and homeless over 90,000 full and nutritious meals since 1993. You can donate to help the poor and homeless through our christian charity online. Visit our homepage to find our online donation form. 


About The Author

is a full time blogger and is devoted to topics about charity, kindness, and Christianity. She is part of Correct Digital, Inc which is paid by private donors to provide website digital marketing services to this non-profit organization.

What can you do?
10 Ways to Help People in Your Own Little Way
Someone making an offering at the church, one of the four types of giving according to the bible.
Published August 14, 2020
In a world where a simple good deed goes viral, helping others has obviously become the exception rather than the norm. It’s not that we don’t want to help. It’s just that we’re too absorbed with our own lives that we forget others have troubles of their own too.Because of that inward focus, we tend to think that it’s us who should receive the help and not the one helping. We expect other people to help us yet we’re not willing to help others.Yes, every one of us deserves help. But going through a tough time ourselves doesn’t mean we’re not in a position to help others. Remember, help comes in various forms. You may not have millions of dollars in your bank account but you can still extend your assistance in other ways. Even very small gestures can make a difference.

Here’s how to help people in your own little way:1. Practice Kindness

No matter what others say, kindness is never overrated. Every one of us is fighting our own battles. So the least you can do for others is to be kind.Instead of criticizing them, help them learn the error of their ways. Rather than blaming them for the bad decisions they made, help them make good ones. Choose love over hate and compassion over judgment. Every single time choose to be kind.2. Offer Your Time

One of the most valuable gifts you can give to someone is your time. Whether it’s your family member or your neighbor, being there for them means a lot. It lets them know that someone cares, that someone’s got their back, and that they are not alone in this fight.You can also offer your time to give back to the community. Volunteer in local charities, help out in your church, participate in coastal cleanups, and many more. There are a lot of ways you can help by offering your time.3. Donate Stuff You’re Not Using

Rather than letting them gather dust in your basement, why not just donate those stuff you’re not using? It won’t only clear up space from your storage, you’ll be helping people too.Many charities like the Salvation Army and Goodwill accept used clothing donations. You can also drop them off at your local soup kitchen. If you’ve got used eyeglasses, you can also donate them to organizations helping visually-impaired people.

How to help people in your own ways.

4. Support a Cause

By supporting a cause you believe in, you are lending your voice to those who don’t have theirs. The more people rally behind a certain cause, the more awareness it will create. And that awareness can lead to a change in government policies or society’s view of a certain issue. In short, it can change lives.

5. Smile

Don’t ever underestimate the power of a smile. It may cost you nothing but it can mean everything to the person on the receiving end of that smile. It can brighten someone’s day and bring good cheer to those who need it the most.

6. Say Thank You

Just like a smile, a simple thank you can make a difference in someone’s day. After all, wouldn’t you like it when your efforts get appreciated once in a while?

7. Ask How You Can Help

Some people, no matter how desperate their situations are, won’t ask for help. It’s either they’re too shy or they’ve been betrayed before that they’re having a hard time trusting others. So make the first step. Ask them how you can help but don’t stop there. Really help them like you intend to. So they won’t hesitate to speak up the next time they need help.

8. Listen

Sometimes, people don’t need anything other than someone who will listen to them without judgment. Be that someone. Help people by lending your ear. Just listen, don’t interrupt, and keep an open mind. Let them get it all out – their frustrations, heartaches, and troubles. It won’t only make them feel better but you might also learn a thing or two.

9. Teach

For some, learning a new skill can mean a better life. Like when a single mother learns how to bake and earns extra income for the family. Or when someone learns a new language and went on to get a scholarship abroad. So whatever skills or knowledge you have, don’t hesitate to pass it on. Who knows, that skill you have right now could be the key to changing someone’s life.

10. Give an Honest Feedback

Most people consider giving honest feedback as too “brutal”. We’re so afraid of hurting someone, especially if that person is close to us. So instead of telling them what we really think, we tell them what they want to hear.But giving an honest feedback is helping in itself. As long as your intention is to help and not to bash, there’s nothing wrong with giving constructive criticism. So don’t be afraid to let people know what you really think. They might hate you but it will help them become better at what they do. And that’s all that matters.

Donate To The Poor Online

Our Father’s House Soup Kitchen has fed the poor and homeless over 90,000 full and nutritious meals since 1993. You can donate to help the poor and homeless through our christian charity online. Visit our homepage to find our online donation form. 


About The Author

is a full time blogger and is devoted to topics about charity, kindness, and Christianity. She is part of Correct Digital, Inc which is paid by private donors to provide website digital marketing services to this non-profit organization.

Black Men In America.com
Since our launch in 2001, Black Men In America.com has evolved from a news site focusing on black men to a well-rounded social, current events and political website featuring content that people want to share and talk about.  We have thought-provoking content that aims to educate, entertain and inspire our site visitors to become good citizens and role models in their community.  Please do not use this site to post or transmit any unlawful, threatening, abusive, libelous, defamatory, obscene, vulgar, pornographic, profane or indecent information of any kind, including without limitation any transmissions constituting or encouraging conduct that would constitute a criminal offense, give rise to civil liability or otherwise violate any local, state, national or international law. You alone are responsible for the material you post.

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