U.S. Sees First Homelessness Uptick Since 2010
December 11, 2017
The national homeless population increased for the first time since 2010, bumping up 0.7 percent year over year in 2017, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The West Coast was mostly responsible for the increase thanks to particularly tight housing markets in cities such as Los Angeles and Seattle, HUD’s data shows.
“In many high-cost areas of our country, especially along the West Coast, the severe shortage of affordable housing is manifesting itself on our streets,” says HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “With rents rising faster than incomes, we need to bring everybody to the table to produce more affordable housing and ease the pressure that is forcing too many of our neighbors into our shelters and onto our streets. This is not a federal problem—it’s everybody’s problem.”
Homelessness is particularly problematic in large urban areas. Los Angeles County, for example, has seen an increase in homelessness every year since 2014, and its homeless population has surged 26 percent since last year. Most of the increase has been among middle-aged single men. Even worse, homelessness among veterans there has surged 64 percent since January 2016. Homelessness also increased in New York by 4.1 percent year over year.
Meanwhile, the states that have posted the largest decreases in homelessness are South Carolina and Georgia, which saw their rates plunge by more than 20 percent year over year. Mississippi and Louisiana have also posted double-digit decreases, according to HUD.
Updated: June 22, 2018