About Our Guests

Facts About Chicago’s Homeless Population

According to the U.S. Conference of Mayors 2015 Hunger and Homelessness Survey, one-third of Chicago’s homeless population (33%) were severely mentally ill, 20% were victims of domestic violence and 19% were physically disabled. About 14% of the city’s homeless population had some form of employment, 7% were veterans and 4% were HIV-positive.

In 2014, the number of emergency shelter beds available in Chicago over the previous year declined 17.6%, to 1,701 beds. The city reported an increase of 17.2% in available beds in transitional housing, to 4,574 beds. The number of beds in permanent supportive housing declined 10%, to 7,613 beds.

Source: US Conference of Mayors Hunger and Homelessness Survey/December 2015

What is the makeup of the population CHI serves?

Over 85% of the people we serve are unemployed and 46% report being homeless, according to a recent CHI survey completed by 119 of our guests. Twenty-one percent live in a shelter or other type of residence; 17% are in rental housing; 14% live with friends or family; and 11% live in a single-room occupancy hotel.

About 80% of our guests are men, 20% are women and several survey respondents identify as transgender. Twenty percent are military service veterans. Six percent of our survey respondents report being married, 18% are separated, 65% are single, 5% are in a domestic partnership, 3% are widowed, and 4% have children.  

Regarding the racial/ethnic backgrounds of the people CHI serves, 69% are African-American, 17% are white, 7% are Hispanic, 4% are Native American, and 3% are Asian.

Did you know?

Over 85% of the people we serve are unemployed.

They help us with food, social services. Nothing but love, that’s how I feel about the Chicago Help Initiative.”