Health & Homelessness

Health and housing are interdependent as it is impossible to be successful in one without the other. People cannot pay for housing without the presence of good health, and good health is unobtainable without a safe, permanent home. This correlation is evident in that homeless people are 3 to 6 times as likely to experience illnesses then those who are housed. Bankruptcy is a major cause of homelessness and half of all personal bankruptcies in the United States result from health problems.

The average age of at death of a homeless person in the United States is 48—on par with the life expectancy of Afghanistan and Nigeria, the lowest in the world. A Haitian—with a 62 year old life expectancy—can expect to live significantly longer than a homeless person in the United States. (WHO 2009)

Homelessness Statistics

Statistics are taken from the Annual Report on Poverty in Utah 2011 -

  Utah Homeless US Homeless
Total Population 16,522 (+15% over 2010) 3.5 million
Chronically homeless 542 (-10% over 2010) 17%
% of population in families 40% 37%

The #1 cause of death among homeless people is from preventable and treatable illnesses.


Myths and Facts About Homelessness

Information from 2012 Utah Homeless Point-In-Time Count; Utah HMIS 2012 Data

People experiencing homelessness suffer from the hardship of their condition, but also face alienation and discrimination fueled by stereotypes. Here are some myths and realities of homelessness.

Myth #1: People who are homeless stay homeless for a long time.

Fact: The vast majority of homeless Utahns (63%) are homeless for short periods of time. They stay in shelters for brief periods, for days or weeks, and often do not return.


Myth #2: Most of the people who are homeless are single men.

Fact: Persons in families are the fastest growing group, comprising 45% of Utah's homeless population.


Myth #3: The homeless population is transient, migrating to cities with the best services.

Fact: 88% of Utah's homeless population lived in Utah when they became homeless.


Myth #4: They are to blame for their situation.

Fact: Many are victims of circumstance, illness and trauma from violence or abuse. About 30% are children.