Homelessness by the Numbers

Homelessness by the Numbers

The Reel NW film "Carts of Darkness" challenges stereotypes about the homeless, as well as assumptions of what's best for them. These homeless work, collecting bottles and turning them in for cash. And one of the characters. Fergy, prefers to sleep outside rather than at a shelter, saying the shelter isn’t conducive to getting sober.

British Columbia, where "Carts of Darkness" was filmed, had more than 10,000 homeless in 2007, according to one estimate. By comparison, Washington had 22,878 homeless in 2010, and Oregon had 19,492. The U.S. numbers come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's 2010 Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, based in part on a point-in-time count from a single night in January 2010. According to the report, California, New York, and Florida had 40 percent of the total homeless population. But Oregon and Washington had among the highest homeless rates per capita. Nevada was first in that ranking (0.54 percent), followed by Oregon (0.45 percent), Hawaii (0.43 percent), California (0.36 percent), and Washington (0.34 percent).

Some other numbers from the report:

Number of Sheltered and Unsheltered People
Number Who Used Emergency Shelters or Transitional Housing For At Least One Night in 2010
1.59 million
Percentage in Shelters or Transitional Housing
62 percent
Percentage on the Street
38 percent
Percentage of Homeless as Individuals
63 percent
Percentage That Were Homeless as Part of a Family
37 percent
Number Considered Chronically Homeless
Percentage of People in Shelters With Disability
36.8 percent
Percentage of People in Shelters with Severe Mental Illness
26.2 percent
Percentage of People in Shelters with Chronic Substance Abuse Problems
34.7 percent

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