Contact: Justin Boles, Citygate Network
Office: (719) 266-8300 x 104

Survey Reveals Mental Illness on the Rise Among People Experiencing Homelessness

Citygate Network’s 32nd Annual Snapshot Survey

Colorado Springs, Colo. (June 1, 2022 ) — The face of homelessness — and the capabilities of those who provide services to people experiencing homelessness — is changing. Poverty and homelessness are extremely complex issues. Homelessness is more than not having shelter, and poverty is more than not having money. These conditions are so often brought about by a lack of support, an absence of community, and, most often, a combination of factors that have been unaddressed in a person’s life, leading them to a crisis point. These core issues may include — among others — addiction, family estrangement, violence, traumatic events, and mental illness.

Mental illness is, in fact, increasingly being seen as a primary factor in overall incidences of homelessness. According to a 2022 survey released by Citygate Network, the percentage of clients and guests self-reporting mental illness at Citygate Network member missions and ministries across the U.S. has increased by 13 percent since 2018. This 2022 point-in-time count showed that nearly half of all persons accessing services at these organizations struggled with some level of mental illness. Because the needs are changing, service providers are expanding their services.

Rescue missions and similar organizations are no longer simply homeless shelters or soup kitchens that focus solely on shelter and food. While they continue to meet the crisis needs of individuals, increasingly, they also offer an extensive suite of services, including addiction recovery support, medical care, counseling, education, vocational training, and other programs needed to help people move forward in life and reach their potential.

More than 30 percent of survey respondents have been homeless for more than one year. But many of those served are not chronically homeless. Surprisingly, 28 percent have never even been homeless before, although 44 percent of respondents were 46-65 years old — the largest age category by far.

“It’s also important to note that the majority of people coming to missions for help are your neighbors, rather than people traveling to your city from other areas,” explains Citygate Network Vice President Justin Boles. “More than 71 percent of respondents report that they are area residents.”

In all, 12,271 people responded to the survey at 94 missions and ministries across the country. This is the 32nd year that Citygate Network has conducted its Snapshot Survey to determine the demographic makeup of the people its member organizations serve.

Survey findings nationwide also include:

  • Five percent of families served consisted of women with children.
  • Twenty-one percent reported being victims of violence in the last 12 months.
  • Eighty-seven percent came to the mission daily, a five percent decrease from last year.
  • Eighty-five percent preferred receiving services from programs with a spiritual emphasis, a five percent increase over the 2021 study.

“Regardless of the numbers, remember that these are fellow humans in need,” said Boles. “Life transformation ministries stand as a place of refuge and hope in their cities. For anyone looking for a place of recovery and restoration, a local ministry can be found at”

Further information is available on the Citygate Network website at

Editor’s Note: For interviews and additional national survey information, contact: Justin Boles, who can also help arrange interviews with local leaders.

About Citygate Network: Citygate Network is North America’s oldest and largest network of independent, faith-based crisis shelters and life-transformation centers, offering radical hospitality in Jesus’ name. Through addiction recovery, education, counseling, job training, housing services, and more, thousands of people in need receive help and hope. Every year, Citygate Network member ministries serve approximately 70 million meals, provide more than 20 million nights’ lodging, help tens of thousands find employment, bandage the wounds of thousands of abuse victims, and graduate more than 20,000 people from addiction-recovery programs into productive living. To learn more, visit