US Homelessness Hits Record High Amid Rising Rents, End of COVID Aid

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Homelessness in the United States hit a new record earlier this year, in part due to a “sharp increase” in the number of people experiencing homelessness for the first time, federal officials said. saying Friday.

More than 650,000 people were homeless on a single night in January, a 12% increase from 2022, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report. This is the highest number since the The country began using the annual spot survey in 2007 to count the homeless population.

Thousands of Americans joined the ranks of the homeless population in the last year due to the end of pandemic programs such as the eviction moratorium, as well as increases in rental costs, according to the report. The end of COVID-era aid, such as the expanded Child Tax Credit, stimulus checks and other supports, has also led to a increase in poverty last year, a problem that was particularly serious in the case of children, among whom the poverty rate doubled.

“Homelessness is solvable and should not exist in the United States,” Secretary Marcia L. Fudge said in a statement. “These data underscore the urgent need for support for proven solutions and strategies that help people quickly escape homelessness and prevent homelessness in the first place.”

The number of people experiencing homelessness between federal fiscal years 2021 to 2022 increased 25%, HUD noted in the report. Fiscal year 2022 ended in September 2022.

Homeless people in the United States

The United States had made steady progress until recent years in reducing the homeless population, as the government focused particularly on increasing investments so veterans could access housing. The number of homeless people decreased from approximately 637,000 in 2010 to approximately 554,000 in 2017.

But the years since the pandemic have dealt a financial double whammy that has hit vulnerable Americans especially hard. On the one hand, government supports that helped people weather the economic upheaval of the pandemic came to an end, eliminating funding and protections.

Second, rents have skyrocketed, raising costs for tenants to the highest level on record. according to the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. Nearly nine in 10 low-income households with incomes less than $15,000 spent more than 30% of their income on housing in 2021, the analysis found.

Generally, housing is considered unaffordable if it exceeds one-third of a household's income.

How many are homeless in the United States?

Around 653,000 people were homeless during the January period.

Within the overall increase, homelessness among individuals increased by nearly 11%, among veterans by 7.4%, and among families with children by 15.5%.

People who identify as Black make up only 13% of the US population, but they account for 37% of all homeless people. And more than a quarter of homeless adults were over 54 years old.

Below are the 5 states with the largest increase in homelessness over the past year:

  • New York: increase of 29,022 homeless people, or an increase of 39.1%
  • Colorado: 4,042, or an increase of 38.9%
  • Massachusetts: 3,634, or an increase of 23.4%
  • Florida: 4,797, or an increase of 18.5%
  • California: 9,878, or an increase of 5.8%

—With information from the Associated Press.



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