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The People


What does it mean to be homeless?

Not having a permanent place to live or living in a place not intended to be permanent (shelter, motel, car, abandoned buildings).

What causes homelessness?

While circumstances vary, homelessness is generally caused by the gap between income and the cost of housing. For many, health conditions, mental health and substance abuse, trauma, and lack of supportive families make them at risk of or push them into homelessness.

Many people in our community find themselves homeless because they are priced out of the housing market. Over 35% of the people living in our community cannot afford the average rent for one-bedroom apartment.

Who is homeless?

The stereotype of the mentally ill or chemically dependent man living under a bridge is now the exception rather than the norm:

Columbus has more than 1,500 people who are considered homeless on any given night

◦12% are considered ‘chronically homeless’ 

◦14% are veterans 

◦21% are families

◦24% are female (and trend is on the rise) 

◦48% have a disability

1 in every 32 students in the Muscogee County School District is homeless

What does it mean to be ‘chronically homeless’?

Chronically Homeless: a homeless individual or a homeless family with an adult head of household who:

◦Has a disabling condition (serious mental health illness, substance use disorder, developmental disability, physical disability)


◦Has been homeless and living in a place not meant for human habitation or an emergency shelter continuously for at least 1 year or on at least 4 separate occasions in the last 3 years.

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