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On a single night in 2016, more than 500,000 people experienced homelessness in the United States.

Multiple federal, state, and local programs offer support to people experiencing homelessness. Our visualizations display federal financial data to show the breakdown of funding spent to address homelessness.

How individuals experiencing homelessness are counted

People experiencing homelessness are counted once a year (in late January) by grantees who receive funding from HUD's Continuum of Care program. This program is the largest federal program related to homelessness.1 It requires grantees to collect reliable data on the total number of people experiencing homelessness who reside in the grantee's geographic area.2

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Homeless Population by Region
HUD Point-in-time Count by Continuum of Care Area
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* White areas with no hover-over represent areas of the country that are not represented by a Continuum of Care area.

** This map reflects the most up to date HUD map available; however, some Continuum of Care areas have merged together in 2017 since this map was updated.

See our section on How We Conducted This Analysis for more information.

Federal programs that address homelessness

The Department of Housing and Urban Development plays a lead role in federal efforts to address homelessness, although multiple federal agencies manage programs that provide services including education, employment, housing resources, and more.

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Federal Spending on Homelessness by Region
Federal grant awards by Continuum of Care Area
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Which Continuum of Care areas are similar to each other?

While the section above allows you to compare Continuum of Care areas that are neighbors geographically, we wanted to explore if Continuum of Care areas were similar along characteristics other than geography. It may be helpful for those working in the field to know what types of funding their neighbors are receiving and to know what regions are similar to their own regardless of location. Using an unsupervised machine learning algorithm, we clustered Continuum of Care areas based on a variety of attributes, such as population, income, and the prevalence of mental illness.

Clustering Administrative Regions
Using multiple data sources to discover similarities between regions
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Final thoughts

As these visualizations depict, thousands of people are homeless across the United States. We hope that this analysis show how federal funding impacts homelessness and can serve as a useful tool for state and local governments, as well as private institutions, who are working to reduce homelessness. In addition, we chose to conduct this analysis because it features data from across multiple federal agencies, which is all available in one dataset.

Analysts and users who have ideas for other types of analyses, whether featuring contracts or financial assistance across the federal government, can use the Data Lab's Analyst Guide for guidance and hints as they use the data.

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How We Conducted This Analysis

To accurately determine the amount the federal government spends addressing homelessness, we reviewed federal program descriptions using the CFDA, looking for any mention of keywords related to homelessness.

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