Families are the fastest growing segment of homeless people in the U.S. As many as 1.2 million children may be without homes, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

Washington state is part of a national trend—on any given night, as many as 25,000 people in Washington are without a home, and nearly half are families with children. That means that as many as 12,500 of the people in Washington state without a home are families with children.
The numbers can vary depending on the definition and the time period being reported. The state of Washington Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction tracks the number of children experiencing homelessness each year; for the 2013-2014 school year, 32,494 children were reported as homeless during the year -- an increase of 56 percent since 2007-2008.

Facts about Family Homelessness:

  • Families living in poverty fall into homelessness due to loss of employment, death in the family or illness. 
  • Families experiencing homelessness are often “hidden,” living in unsafe conditions and doubled up. 
  • Shelters are often out of reach for families with older male children or male head of households. 
  • Children pay a high price for being homeless – facing disruption in education, emotional and health issues. 
  • Domestic violence is a leading cause of homelessness for women, leaving families in crisis with nowhere to go to get away from their abusers. 
  • Veterans with physical and mental health problems return from conflict facing a difficult economic climate, putting housing out of reach. 
  • Approximately 25 percent of all homeless families face significant barriers to maintaining housing and need more intensive, long-term assistance.

Learn More

To learn more about the strategies to end family homelessness in our region, please read this report on Homelessness and Family Stability.

To learn more about efforts to end all homelessness in our region, please click on the links below:


Contact Us

Larry Hubbell, PhD

Catherine Hinrichsen
Project Director
Email: hinrichc@seattleu.edu
Phone: 206.398.4457