BOSTON — The number of homeless shelters in the United States has almost tripled in the last five years. Their number has increased from 1,900 in 1984 to 5,400 in 1988, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Help for the homeless is maintained by a combination of public/private partnerships, government assistance, and voluntary efforts.
The survey also found that spending on shelters has increased more than five-fold to $1.5 billion. That figure does not include private and public money spent on many out-of-shelter services and programs to assist the homeless.
The number of shelter beds rose from 100,000 in 1984 to 275,000 in 1988. About two-thirds of these beds were occupied in a typical night.