Every year the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires communities to conduct counts of people living in emergency shelters or transitional housing. Every other year, HUD requires communities to also conduct counts of "unsheltered" people living in places unfit for human habitation (such as abandoned buildings, parks, "tent cities," etc). In 2014, over 578,000 people were homeless on a given night, nationwide.
The statistics are important, and are used in a variety of ways to attempt to deal with the homelessness problem. But it can be very easy to overlook the fact that every one of those numbers represents a story, a life, a person.
Jessica, one such person living on the streets of Boston, shared some of her story.