Homelessness in Philadelphia

Latest Data

Each year, Philadelphia homeless outreach organizations engage more than 6,000 individuals living on the street, in cars, abandoned buildings, train/bus stations, and other places not meant for human habitation. 

  • Approximately 8,347 unduplicated people (including families) accessed emergency shelter in Philadelphia last year.  In addition, numerous individuals were turned away from shelter due to limited capacity. 

During the 2017-2018 school year, 7,288 children and youth in Philadelphia experienced homelessness. 

Unsheltered Totals and Center City Totals
*Starting in 2014, unsheltered counts include increased coverage of the Kensington area and other communities that were not previously included, causing street count numbers to increase.
  2016 Unsheltered total 2016 Center City count only 2017 Unsheltered total 2017 Center City count only 2018 Unsheltered total 2018 Center City count only
January 525 225 799 450 834 369
May 712 348 903 444 895 365
August 930 439 997 565 1355 474
November 779 458 755 459 733 242








Causes of Homelessness in Philadelphia

The causes of homelessness are diverse and related to many systemic and institutional structures within our country. We recognize that homelessness has many intersecting causes and that data quality and availability is, for now, still limited. We have decided to highlight a few of the causes of homelessness in Philadelphia with supported data. 

Lack of jobs at competitive living wages

Disparity between housing costs and minimum wage, public supports, or earned benefits

Lack of affordable housing and inadequate housing assistance

Lack of affordable health care

Inadequate support for mental health and substance use challenges

Racial inequality

National opioid crisis

Domestic violence

Systemic Oppression 

None of us are home until all of us are home®