Homelessness in Austin

Prevalence of homelessness in Austin

Over 7,000 individuals experienced homelessness in 2018. The 2019 Point in Time Count showed that there were 2,255 individuals experiencing homelessness in Travis County on a single day. Of the 2,255 individuals experiencing homelessness, 1,169 were sheltered and 1,086 were unsheltered.

Previous in Austin experience homelessness on a given day

Bar graph of PIT results over time

Demographics of Homelessness in Austin

Gender Identity

Pie chart of gender breakdown

Household Size

Pie chart of household size

Age

Bar graph of age distribution

Youth Homelessness

Pie charts of youth homelessness breakdown

Race/Ethnicity

Bar graph showing racial disparities

Types of Homelessness

    • Chronic homelessness: individuals who are continuously homeless and can be staying on the streets or in emergency shelters
    • Transitional homelessness: individuals who enter the system for one short stay before they transition into stable housing
    • Episodic homelessness: individuals who frequently switch between homelessness and institutions such as inpatient treatment programs, rehab centers, etc.

Common Causes of Homelessness

There are a variety of contributing factors that can lead to homelessness. Often, it is the breakdown of multiple systems and supports. Below is a list of some of the potential factors.

    • Lack of affordable housing: The cost of living has been rising, and rent in Austin has continued to increase. In Travis County, you would have to work 109 hours a week at minimum wage to afford a one bedroom home.
    • Employment factors: Unemployment, low wages, and limited job skills can all contribute to an individual experiencing homelessness.
    • Poverty: In Travis County, 14% of individuals are below the poverty line. 57% of individuals experiencing homelessness report they do not have any income.
    • Lack of access to services for mental health, substance abuse, and/or healthcare: In Texas, 5,133 individuals of the total homeless population suffer from severe mental illness.  4,373 individuals experiencing homelessness suffer from chronic substance abuse in the state. Lack of access to basic healthcare can lead to individuals or families only seeking help in emergencies, resulting in even larger medical bills.
    • Domestic violence: According to the HUD 2017 Point In Time Count, of the total homeless population in Texas, 3,768 individuals reported they were victims of domestic violence.
    • Racial inequality: African Americans are incarcerated and experience poverty at significantly higher rates compared to the general population. This disproportionate rate is also found in the homeless population.1

Contributing Factors to Youth Homelessness2

    • Youth identified the most common causes of their homelessness as foster care, family homelessness, parent’s own struggles, and chronic family conflict
    • 82% reported inadequate access to healthcare
    • 59% reported that they are not engaged in school and/or employment
    • 56% reported they have experienced trauma or a mental health issue
    • 66% reported they had juvenile justice involvement, having spent time in juvenile detention, jail or prison
    • 55% of female identified youth indicated they were pregnant or a parent
    • 37% reported they had ever been in foster care
    • 23% identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, questioning or asexual to some extent

Challenges of Experiencing Homelessness1

    • 70% report having no planned activities that bring them happiness
    • 70% report past trauma or abuse caused their current homelessness
    • 43% report they have been attacked or beaten up while homeless
    • 47% report having legal issues that may result in jail or fines
    • 39% report having experienced domestic violence in their lifetime
    • 17% report consuming drugs and/or alcohol almost every or every day for the past month

 

There are many nonprofit, government, and business entities working to address homelessness in Austin.  We believe that homelessness is solvable when the community comes together and the resources are available to ensure that all Austinites can meet their full potential. 

1 Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) Homelessness in Austin/Travis County: Current Needs and Gaps Report. 1 Mar. 2019.

2 Ending Youth Homelessness in Austin/Travis County: A Coordinated Community Plan to Prevent and End Youth Homelessness. 15 Dec. 2017.