Shelter from the elements, like food and clean water, is a basic need.

Currently, 37 million, or 11% of all Americans are living in poverty and struggling to afford basic necessities.

“When low-income households spend more than half their income on housing, they have little if any money to spend on other necessities, such as food, childcare, transportation, and healthcare.”

National Low Income Housing Coalition

Facts About The Cold

Cold weather makes the body work harder, putting stress on the heart to ensure the body stays warm. (3)

Children are unable to regulate their body temperatures as adults do. They can quickly develop hypothermia without protection from the cold. (2)

Victims of hypothermia are often: older adults with inadequate food, clothing, or heating, children and babies, and those who remain outdoors for long periods. (10)

A 2015 study found up to a 31% increase in heart attacks in the coldest months of the year compared with the warmest. (4)

Exposure to cold predisposes people, especially children, to infections like pneumonia. (2)

Tovi Martin, Director of Communications for Crisis Assistance Ministry, explains who their organization serves and what a coat means to them.

Who needs a coat?

Individuals and families requesting assistance from One Warm Coat’s nonprofit partner agencies has grown by 30-50% every year since 2020. The New York Daily News recently reported on the uneven recovery from the pandemic as more children are going without food, despite many signs of economic resurgence. In the article, City Harvest Food Bank reported a 67% increase in need since 2019. Where there is a need for food, there is a need for coats.

1 in 6 children

1 in 6 children in America is living in poverty. Poverty in children increased from 14.4 in 2019 to 16.1% in 2020. (7)

The National Center for Homeless Education reports that 1.5 million students enrolled in public school districts experienced homelessness during the course of the 2016-2017 school year. (9)

7.3 Million Families

7.3 million families are living in poverty. For poor families and individuals, the winter months are more expensive and a present a bigger strain on their budget. (5) Families living in poverty are at greater risk of becoming homeless. (9)

1 million Veterans

More than 1 million Veterans are living in poverty. The poverty rate of veterans is nearing 7% (6) Additionally, Veterans are often faced with many obstacles when they return to civilian life that put them at risk for homelessness including difficulties finding affordable housing and earning a livable income. (9)

25 million Seniors

25 million seniors are living in poverty. Many seniors do not have enough income and money saved to pay for a safe and stable place to live and other necessities such as food, utilities, and medication. (5)

People Experiencing Homelessness

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 582,462 people are experiencing homelessness in the United States, and 28% are families with children. This number is likely much higher than reported. (9)


1: (2016) PLOS ONE 2015
2: Troullos, E. Baird, L. Jayawardena,S. (2014) Common Cold Symptoms in Children. Journal of Medical Internet Research. 12
3: Cool Antarctica. 2018. Cold Weather and Health – How do cold temperatures affect health and well being? – The dangers of cold.
4: Harrar; Roberts. 2018. Why the Risk of Heart Attack Rise in Winter. Consumer Reports.
5: SEMEGA, J; KOLLAR, M; CREAMER, J, and MOHANTY, A. 2019. Income and Poverty in the United States: 2018. United States Census Bureau.
6. 2015. Veteran Poverty Trends. United States Department of Veteran Affairs.
7. Income and Poverty in the United States: 2020. United States Census Bureau.
8. Statista. Number of families living below the poverty line in the U.S. from 1990 to 2020. 2022
9. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
10. The CDC. Winter Weather.