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 than 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 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report & Comprehensive Report on Homelessness in Utah 2014

  Utah Homeless US Homeless
Total Population 13,621 (-9.4% from 2013) 578,424
Chronically homeless 539 (-8.9% from 2013) 17%
% of population in families 46% 37%

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


Myths and Facts About Homelessness

Information from 2014 Utah Homeless Point-In-Time Count; Utah HMIS 2014 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: Only 3.9 percent of Utah’s homeless are considered chronically homeless or experience homelessness for long periods of time. Of those experiencing homelessness, 45 percent of single adults and 31 percent of families stayed in shelter less than one week during 2013.


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

Fact: Persons in families constitute 46 percent of the total population, 40 percent are single men and 14 percent are single women.


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. Roughly 29 percent of all homeless persons are children. About 38 percent of all homeless persons experience mental illness or substance abuse, and 35 percent report domestic violence