About Homelessness

How many people experience homelessness in Rhode Island?


Literally homeless: Individual or family who lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence


What does it mean to experience homelessness? The Office of Housing and Urban Development defines homelessness in four categories. Annual counts collect statistics on the number of Americans who are “literally homeless” according to HUD’s definition. Those statistics inform the data presented here.


Yet what it means to experience homelessness goes beyond what HUD defines. Experiencing homelessness can mean constant marginalization, harassment, and stigma. Experiencing homelessness means losing access to safety and stability. A safe, secure, affordable home is a foundational need; stability is virtually impossible without it. Housing is far more than simply housing. Housing is healthcare, mental health, food security, education, family unity, safety, economic opportunity, and more.


At the Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless, we believe that no one in our state should experience homelessness, and we work every day to make this vision a reality.

How many people experience homelessness in Rhode Island?


In 2019, on any given night in Rhode Island, 1,055 persons experienced homelessness. This number comes from the initial count of a one-night count (the Point-of-Time count) of all persons experiencing homelessness and does not represent the total number of persons homeless in Rhode Island throughout 2019.


In fact, according to the 2018 Annual Sheltered Homeless Report, 3,242 persons experienced homelessness in Rhode Island. These numbers come from our Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), and therefore does not include persons in domestic violence shelters or non-participating HMIS emergency shelters. By most estimates, in total 4,000-5,000 Rhode Islanders experienced homelessness in a year.


These statistics represent more than numbers. When we speak of Rhode Islanders experiencing homelessness, we speak about young adults, families, elders, veterans, children: people just like you who find themselves homeless due to circumstances beyond their control. Helping Rhode Islanders experiencing homelessness transition from homelessness to housing not only helps those Rhode Islanders in need, but our statewide community as a whole.

Reports on Homelessness and Housing

The following links will take you to some of our most recent data visualizations to help you understand where homelessness in our state currently stands. As more data becomes available, these infographics will be updated. Feel free to download each infographic as a PDF or share the links with others' who may be interested in learning more about the individuals and families experiencing homelessness and getting housed through Permanent Housing from our system.

Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless

1070 Main St, Suite 304, Pawtucket, RI 02860, USA

(401) 721-5685

Office line

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For immediate shelter call our CES help line at 401-277-4316

M – F: 9AM – 9PM

Holidays & Weekends: 2PM – 9PM 

We currently serve the following languages:

English, Spanish, Portuguese, & Haitian Creole

If you are experiencing domestic violence, please call 1-800-494-8100

If it is not safe for you to call, or if you simply don't have the time, please fill out this form and we will call/text/email you back (usually within 2 days)

Please only call or submit your information above.