How homelessness appears in rural areas versus urban areas
Many people experiencing homelessness in a rural or country setting will not be counted as homeless, because they are not in places easily observed or found so researchers can document data. Since there are so few homeless shelters in rural areas, persons stay in vehicles, find makeshift housing such as tents, boxes, caves, abandoned buildings, under bridges, old train cars, campers and unlocked entrances to community buildings such as post offices, churches and grocery stores. Rural areas have fewer resources to assist these hidden homeless. Because many rural communities cannot locate the literally homeless, persons on the street or living in a local shelter, these rural communities are excluded from accessing federal money to address homelessness.
Persons experiencing urban homelessness are highly visible. One is likely to see someone living on the street, entering established shelters and soup kitchens. Larger cities, which have consistent concentrations of people living in a specific area, have more shelters and community- and faith-based programs to assist persons experiencing homelessness. Urban areas receive federal funding more readily because the research data documented shows how many persons in the concentrated area are visibly homeless.