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Homelessness in MadisonPhoto of Homeless man with Cart

Each year in Madison over 3500 people experience homelessness. For some, homelessness is a once-in-a-lifetime crisis; for others it's an ongoing struggle.

In Madison in 2008 the homeless population rose to its highest level since 2000 with the largest increase in families with children. Though this number has decreased, in 2011 more than 2000 people were turned away from shelters because of lack of space. Throughout the last four years shelter agencies and Porchlight's community parners have worked steadily to provide releif to the most desperate members of our community.

Top Causes of Homelessness
in Our Community:

Poverty
Households with incomes below the poverty level account for the vast majority of people entering homelessness. Over 18% of people in our community live in poverty.

Violence or the Threat of Violence
38% of families and 24% of single women in Madison report that violence or the threat of violence is the reason for their homelessness.

Mental Health
Many homeless people report issues with mental illness. In Madison 38% of families, 49% of single women and 27% of single men report having issues with mental health.

Other Causes
The causes of homelessness are complex. In addition to poverty, violence and mental health other factors include illness, physical disability, divorce or even an honorable discharge. For many multiple factors combine to force an individual or family into crisis.

Want to know more?
The City of Madison publishes data each year.
Download the City's most recent (2012) report here.