Myth: Homeless people live in the streets.
Fact: About 50% percent of homeless Americans lived in shelters in 2019, according to HUD’s survey. Others do sleep outside or in locations not meant for human habitation. (State of Homelessness: 2020 Edition from the National Alliance to End Homelessness). But many “unsheltered” people live in vehicles.
According to the Vehicle Residency Research Program, “People living unsheltered come from all areas of our society, but for many a singular item can be identified as their primary resource and home – their vehicle. In Seattle, “sleeping overnight in a vehicle” (or vehicle residency) is the largest category of unsheltered people, comprising over 30% consistently since 2001.” Seattle Vehicle Residency Research Program from the Seattle University Institute of Public Service.
“While many communities across the U.S. struggle to develop brick-and-mortar shelters, vehicle residences are privately owned and occupied throughout American streets now. I believe that cities need to do more to assess the true number of local vehicle residents, to provide them with a place to park and access to vital social services.” from an article by Graham Pruss, research fellow Vehicle Residency Research Program.