In January 2014, communities across America identified 49,933 homeless veterans during point-in-time counts, which represents 8.6 percent of the total homeless population. This represents a substantial decrease (67.4 percent) in the number of homeless veterans counted only five years previously in 2009.i Though veterans continue to remain overrepresented in the homeless population in America,ii these recent decreases demonstrate the marked progress that has been made in ending veteran homelessness.
Homeless veterans tend to be male (91 percent), single (98 percent), live in a city (76 percent), and have a mental and/or physical disability (54 percent). Black veterans are substantially overrepresented among homeless veterans, comprising 39 percent of the total homeless veteran population but only 11 percent of the total veteran population.
As troops return from operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the face of veteran homelessness has changed: homeless veterans are increasingly younger, female, and heads of households. Despite this, homeless veterans are still most likely to be males between the ages of 51 and 61 (43 percent)iii and to have served in the Vietnam War.iv And, in the next 10 to 15 years, it is projected that the number of homeless veterans over the age of 55 could increase drastically.v