70% of respondents were doubled up – that is, staying with a family member or someone they knew rather than living outside or in places not intended for human habitation. Doubling up has historically been the most common form of homelessness on reservations. Anecdotally, we know this is due to a strong cultural tradition of not letting one’s relatives go without a place to stay when you have a home.
Doubling up is not a common preference among the American Indians surveyed. Nearly all respondents (99%) would live in their own housing – not doubled up with family or friends – if they could find or afford it.
Many doubled-up respondents face considerable difficulty securing housing. During the month before the survey, 34% of doubled-up respondents (both homeless and near-homeless) had spent at least one night in a location not intended for housing; 11% had done the same for more than a week. Only 5% of doubled-up respondents reported spending time in a shelter or transitional housing program in the month before the survey.
Doubled-up arrangements are often unstable.
- 89% of doubled-up respondents lived in 2+ places during the previous year, and 49% had lived in 4+ places.
- 57% were confident they could stay where they were for another month without being asked to leave, while 17% were unsure and 26% felt they could not remain where they were currently staying for another month.
Among those who were doubled up, overcrowding and substandard conditions are concerns.
- 74% of doubled-up respondents live in overcrowded spaces (where the number of residents is greater than the number of rooms in a home); 51% of doubled-up respondents were living in severely overcrowded spaces (more than 1.5 residents per room).
- 22% of those doubled up were living in substandard housing, defined as housing that lacks a flush toilet, electricity, central heat, a kitchen sink, or hot and cold running water.