West Virginia vs. U.S. Statistics

As the National Coalition for the Homeless noted on their webpage, "By its very nature, homelessness is impossible to measure with 100% accuracy. More important than knowing the precise number of people who experience homelessness is our progress in ending it. "

The National Alliance reports 744,000 homeless people on any given night and 2.5 to 3.5 million will experience homelessness. While, some hotly debated studies indicate an overall decrease in homelessness between 2005-07 West Virginia showed an increase of 36% in the number of chronically homeless – an increase that was second only to Kentucky’s.

05-07 US WV
# Chronic Homeless 18% 48%
% Change # of Homeless -10% 58%
% Change # of Chronic Homeless -28% 130%

 While the chronically homeless comprise just 18% of the total number, studies indicate that this hard to house, service demanding subpopulation consumed over half of the available resources.
West Virginia is largely considered a rural state. While the absolute number of homeless persons in rural communities is smaller than that found in cities, the prevalence of homelessness (i.e., the number of homeless persons relative to the general population) has been estimated to be greater in some rural areas than in major metropolitan areas.