What leads to people experiencing homelessness?

Anyone can experience housing insecurity under the right circumstances. Unexpected changes in income, a lost loved one, health issue, or inability to afford basic necessities, and other events can quickly create housing instability that leads to homelessness.

According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, the most common causes of homelessness are:

  • Housing: When there is a lack of affordable housing options for people, there is an increase in evictions, housing instability and homelessness.
  • Income and Housing Affordability: Many households in our area often do not earn enough to pay for basic necessities such as food, clothing, transportation, and housing, despite being employed or having other forms of income.
  • Health: Health problems can cause a person to become homeless and can become exacerbated by a person’s experience being homeless.
  • Violence: Many survivors of domestic violence find themselves without housing when escaping abusive relationships. Additionally, people who are seeking housing may have difficulty finding a landlord to rent to them if there has been police activity at past residences due to domestic violence situations.
  • Discrimination: Minoritized groups who are discriminated against are more likely to experience homelessness and make up a disproportionate share of the homeless population.

Homelessness in Wisconsin

As of January 2020, Wisconsin had an estimated 4,515 experiencing homelessness on any given day, as reported by Continuums of Care to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Of that Total,

  • 558 were family households,
  • 337 were Veterans,
  • 193 were unaccompanied young adults (aged 18-24), and
  • 611 were individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.

Read more about Wisconsin Homelessness Statistics from the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness

More Information

For more information about causes & solutions for homelessness visit the National Alliance To End Homelessness website.