US Homelessness Hits Highest Reported Level as Rents Soar, Pandemic Aid Lapses

The United States witnessed a significant 12% rise in homelessness, reaching its highest recorded level, due to soaring rents and a decrease in coronavirus pandemic assistance. This has made housing unaffordable for many Americans, according to federal officials. The latest count shows that approximately 653,000 people were homeless, marking the highest number since the yearly point-in-time survey began in 2007. This represents an increase of around 70,650 individuals compared to the previous year. The surge in homelessness is primarily attributed to first-time homeless individuals, ending the downward trend in family homelessness that began in 2012. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge emphasized the need for urgent support and proven strategies to help people exit homelessness quickly and prevent it from occurring in the first place. While the U.S. made progress in reducing homelessness over the past decade, the numbers began to rise again in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Emergency rental assistance, stimulus payments, aid to states and local governments, and a temporary eviction moratorium initially held off the increase. However, factors such as a shortage of affordable homes and high housing costs have left many Americans living paycheck to paycheck and at risk of homelessness. Within the overall rise, homelessness increased by nearly 11% among individuals, 7.4% among veterans, and 15.5% among families with children. Certain groups, such as Black and Hispanic individuals, are disproportionately affected by homelessness. The rental housing conditions in 2022 were exceptionally challenging, with rents increasing at a higher rate than in previous years. However, this trend has since subsided. President Joe Biden’s budget for this fiscal year includes recommendations for guaranteed vouchers for low-income veterans and youths aging out of foster care, aiming to reduce homelessness. California, New York, Florida, and Washington accounted for over half of the homeless population in the country. While California’s proportion increased at half the national rate, New York’s homelessness rose more than three times the national rate. New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Colorado, along with New York, experienced the largest percentage increases in homelessness. Despite these concerning numbers, some communities have managed to decrease homelessness through efforts to connect people to permanent housing and prevent homelessness. Chattanooga, Dallas, Newark, Essex County, Houston, San Jose, and Tucson were highlighted for their improvements in addressing homelessness.
The United States has experienced a significant increase in homelessness, with a 12% rise to its highest reported level. This surge is attributed to soaring rents and a decline in coronavirus pandemic assistance, making housing unaffordable for many Americans. According to the yearly point-in-time survey, approximately 653,000 people were homeless, marking the highest number since 2007. The increase was primarily driven by first-time homelessness and ended a downward trend in family homelessness that began in 2012. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia Fudge emphasized the urgent need for support and proven strategies to address homelessness. The US had made progress in reducing homelessness for about a decade, but the numbers began to rise again in 2020 due to the pandemic. Homelessness among individuals, veterans, and families with children also increased. Black and Hispanic populations were disproportionately affected, and adults over the age of 54 accounted for more than 25% of the homeless population. Rental housing conditions were described as challenging, but the trend has since subsided. President Joe Biden’s budget for this fiscal year includes investments aimed at reducing homelessness. California, New York, Florida, and Washington had the highest number of homeless individuals, with New York experiencing the largest increase. However, some communities, such as Chattanooga, Dallas, and Newark, saw a decrease in homelessness due to efforts to connect people to permanent housing and prevent homelessness.

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