Family Homelessness Facts

Among industrialized nations, the United States has the largest number of homeless women and children. Not since the Great Depression have so many families been without homes. The statistics below are the best estimates of the extent of homelessness, but it is important to note that they are undercounts.

Who are homeless families?

The typical sheltered homeless family is comprised of a mother in her late twenties with two children.

What are the experiences of homeless mothers?

The impact of homelessness on mothers is profound. Many experience anger, self blame, sadness, fear, and hopelessness. Mothers experiencing homelessness have significant histories of interpersonal violence. For them, the experience of becoming homeless is another major stressor amidst already complicated traumatic experiences.

What are the experiences of homeless children?

Children experience high rates of chronic and acute health problems while homeless. The constant barrage of stressful and traumatic experiences also has profound effects on their development and ability to learn. Violence plays a significant role in the lives of homeless children.

How is family violence linked to homelessness?

Over 85% of homeless families are headed by women - specifically, by single women with children - and domestic violence is a principal cause homelessness among single mother families.

How many homeless individuals in Austin/Travis County have been victims of domestic violence?


  1. "The Characteristics and Needs of Families Experiencing Homelessness." The National Center on Family Homelessness. April 2008.
  2. "Some Facts on Homelessness, Housing, and Violence Against Women." National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty. 2006.
  3. Point-in-Time Data for the Austin/Travis County Continuum of Care on January 23, 2011. HUD's 2011 Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance Programs Homeless Populations and Subpopulations. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Homelessness Resource Exchange.