More than 1.5 million Americans experience homelessness over the course of a year. The homeless population is mostly comprised of veterans, persons with disabilities, women and often children who are fleeing domestic violence. Various factors, including the ones listed below, place individuals and families into a state of temporary or chronic homelessness:  

  • Lack of affordable housing

    • Income has grown at a much slower pace than the cost of housing over the last three decades

  • Mental Illness

    • 16% of the homeless population suffers from a mental illness

  • Substance Abuse

    • 35% of sheltered adults have chronic substance abuse problems

  • Domestic Violence

    • Roughly 50% of homeless women and children left their previous residences to flee domestic violence

    • Over 92% of homeless mothers have experienced severe physical and/or sexual abuse

While helpful to many, government programs, such as Section 8 and public housing assistance, are often congested and require a lengthy application process, leaving individuals and families to turn to shelters or other centers in the interim.

However, shelters also face a similar problem: the demand for space at shelters greatly exceeds the supply. Services are limited or are completely absent, leaving individuals with mental illness, substance abuse or trauma to fend for themselves without the means to exit the cycle of homelessness.  

Why Homelessness?

Without sufficient support from their neighbors, homeless persons are unable to maximize their contributions to communities. Talents and skills are present in all segments of our population, including the homeless. When all our neighbors are able to fully use and share their gifts, communities prosper.

Survivors’ Truths and Homelessness

The Our Neighbors project partners with frontline service providers, such as the Corporation for Supportive Housing, who are already strengthening our communities by serving the homeless population. The project helps individuals mold their experiences into thought-provoking stories and shares them through social media and other channels. Participants’ insightful stories act as a beacon of hope for themselves and for others experiencing homelessness.