Homeless Demographics in Richmond, VA

Homeward_logo_79Obviously our project is about individuals and not just statistics. But for people like myself who have a limited understanding of homelessness in Richmond, statistics can be very informative.

The organization Homeward conducted a demographic survey of 692 homeless individuals in January 2009. Here are the results:

  • 73.8% of adults are males, 25.9% are females, and .3% are transgendered. Most homeless persons are single, never married adults (56.4%). 6.3% are married, and 43.6% of people experiencing homelessness are or have been in families, including those who are married, as well as those who are separated, widowed, or divorced.
  • 10.9% of homeless persons have children living with them.
  • A majority of persons report that they are African-American (67.7%), followed by White (26.3%). 4.4% indicated that they are Hispanic.
  • The average age for adults is 44.4 years.
  • 52.7% have a high school education or GED. 22.3% attended some college, and 8.7% have a college degree or higher.
  • 17.8% are veterans.
  • The majority (73.0%) served some time in jail and/or prison. Out of all individuals surveyed (including those who have not served time in jail and/or prison), 43.2% reported serving time in jail, 7.5% reported serving time in prison, and 22.3% indicated that they had served time in both jail and prison.
  • 26.4% have experienced domestic violence in their lifetime. Of those experiencing domestic violence, 5.8% had experienced it in the past month, and 35.5% had experienced it in the past year.
  • 45.7% report having a problem with alcohol sometime in their lifetime. Of those reporting a problem with alcohol, 78.1% are currently in recovery.
  • 51.5% report having a problem with substance abuse sometime in their lifetime. Of those reporting a problem, 76.9% are currently in recovery.
  • 30.7% report having a mental health problem sometime in their lifetime. Of these, 69.7% are currently being treated and 64.1% are taking medication for mental health problems.
  • 26.7% report having a long-term disability.
  • 25.2% are employed. Of those who are employed, 41.2% work full-time, 32.4% work part-time, and 26.4% do day labor or temp work.
  • 50.0% of respondents have lived in Greater Richmond for 5 years or more; 35.4% have lived in the area for 17 years or more.
  • Most (52.6%) reported having their last housing in Richmond. Others indicated previous housing in Henrico (9.1%), Chesterfield (7.4%), and Hanover (3.1%). 17.6% of respondents last lived elsewhere in Virginia, and 9.6% lived in other states.
  • In the past three years, most homeless persons have been homeless once (62.9%) or twice (20.9%); 16.2% have been homeless three or more times during this time period.
  • A little more than half (51.4%) of homeless persons have been homeless for 5 months or less.

The original document can be found in PDF format here.


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3 responses to “Homeless Demographics in Richmond, VA

  1. Scott Burger

    Between the homeless population and the children with mental illness problems, it is shameful the way General Assembly constantly uderfunds mental health.

    We need a national single payer health care system.

  2. I have been homeless at several points in my life. Contrary to popular belief, most homeless did not become so out of choice and not because they are lazy, stupid, or immoral. Many homeless people are victims of abuse in the form of neglect and abandonment by their parents or other caregivers. Some of them are simply victims of life’s tragedies, such as hurricanes, fires, or other catastrophes from which they simply don’t have the resources to recover. I invite you to my blog devoted to raising awareness on homelessness: http://www.freethegods.com. There you will find an article I wrote on homelessness and pictures I have taken of homeless people. I always give them a dollar or two for the privilege of photographing them. I am often surprised by their cheerfulness and sense of pride. Often, they will show themselves to have some kind of talent. There is a fine line between genius and insanity.

  3. Pingback: 10 Things You Can Do to Help Prevent and End Homelessness in Greater Richmond « Richmond Street Soccer

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