From a global perspective, homelessness can be defined as living in severely inadequate housing due to lack of access to minimally adequate housing. Efforts to settle upon an international definition of homelessness that is meaningful in developed countries, yet does not include the majority of individuals living in developing countries, has proved challenging. In the United States, homelessness refers to lacking a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence. Homelessness is a considerable public health problem, with recent estimates indicating that approximately 1.5 million people stay in shelters in the United States each year. Still more are unsheltered, living on the streets, in cars, in abandoned buildings, or in other locations not intended for human habitation. This entry describes the causes, correlates, and consequences of homelessness ...

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