HUD/HHS/VA Collaborative Initiative to Help End Chronic Homelessness: Preliminary Client Outcomes Report. The problem of chronic homelessness


It has been estimated that 637,000 persons in the United States experience homelessness in any given week, and 2.1 million persons experience homelessness in a given year (Burt et al, 2001). While most of these persons experience homelessness for only a brief period of time, an estimated one-in-ten (10%) have experienced chronic homelessness, defined as those who experience homelessness characterized by either greater duration or more frequent of episodes (Kuhn & Culhane, 1998). Many of the estimated 150,000-200,000 persons experiencing chronic homelessness appear to have disabling health and or behavioral health problems (NOFA, 2003; SAMHSA, 2003). An estimated 40% of chronically homeless individuals have substance abuse problems, 25% have a disabling physical health problem, and 20% have a serious mental health problem (Culhane et al, 2001).

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