The homeless population in the United States seems to be growing.
areas of the country you can be confronted by homeless people on the street on a daily .
basis. The largest organization that helps the homeless is known as the National Coalition .
for the Homeless (NCH). The NCH states that the media has reported a growing .
economy and low unemployment which is masking the problem of homelessness in this .
country. Why are people homeless? How many people experience homelessness? Are .
there many homeless children in this country? Who is homeless? Do they choose to be .
homeless? Many people believe that homeless people choose to be homeless. However, .
leading research indicates that the assumption many homeless people want to be .
homeless is false. In fact, many of the homeless people in this country are children.
The NCH says that in 2000, "11.3% of the U.S. population or 31.1 million people, .
lived in poverty (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2001)." They NCH also states in a fact sheet .
which can be found on their website at http://www.nationalhomeless.org/causes.html that .
homelessness and poverty are, "inextricably linked." When a person must choose .
between food and housing they normally choose food. Therefore, poverty can, and often .
does, lead to homelessness. Children account for forty percent of the poverty percentage .
according to the NCH. The 2000 poverty rate of 16.2% for children is significantly higher .
than the poverty rate for any other age group. Other reasons for homelessness can include .
lack of affordable health care, mental illness, drug addiction, and domestic .
violence. (NCH, 1).
The NCH reports that homelessness in the United States is normally a temporary .
circumstance and not a permanent condition. The NCH also explains that the question of .
putting a number on the amount of people in this country is difficult because of the length .
of time that the person must be homeless to be considered, "homeless," by the .