The Root Causes of Homelessness in Philadelphia

Poverty and a lack of affordable housing.


Philadelphia has the highest poverty rate of nation’s 10 largest cities. The deep poverty rate is 12.3 percent of the population, or 186,000 individuals. Deep poverty is defined as an annual income of less than $12,000 for a family of four. Many individuals in deep poverty are experiencing homelessness. Homelessness in Center City is more visible now due to construction and the elimination of public spaces where people lived unnoticed.

  • The opioid crisis has created a new population of homeless individuals.
  • Domestic violence,
  • mental illness, and
  • young people aging out of foster care

all contribute to the increase in the population of individuals experiencing homelessness in our city.

Lack of Affordable Housing

The burden of high housing costs falls more heavily on low-income households, especially renters.