U.S. homelessness rose 12% to highest reported level as rents rise and pandemic aid expires

(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

U.S. homelessness rose 12% to highest reported level as rents rise and pandemic aid expires

Covid-19 pandemic


Dec. 15, 2023

The United States saw a dramatic 12% increase in homelessness as rising rents and a decline in aid for the coronavirus pandemic combined to put housing out of reach for more Americans, federal officials said Friday.

About 653,000 people were experiencing homelessness, the highest number since the country began using the annual point-in-time survey to count the homeless population in 2007. The total in the January count represents an increase of about 70,650 homeless people compared

to with

a year earlier.

The latest estimate also indicated that people experiencing homelessness for the first time accounted for much of the increase, reversing the downward trend in family homelessness that began in 2012.

This data underscores the urgent need for support for proven solutions and strategies that help people quickly exit homelessness and prevent homelessness in the first place, said Marcia Fudge, secretary of the House of Representatives and Urban Development, in a prepared statement.

The U.S. made steady progress in reducing its homeless population until recent years as the government focused on increasing investments to help veterans find housing. The number of homeless people fell from about 637,000 in 2010 to about 554,000 in 2017.

The number rose to about 580,000 in the 2020 census and remained relatively stable over the next two years as Congress responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with emergency rental assistance, stimulus payments, aid to states and local governments, and a temporary eviction moratorium.

Jeff Olivet, executive director of the US Interagency Council on Homelessness, a federal agency, said the additional aid “has slowed the increase in homelessness we are seeing now.

While numerous factors cause homelessness, the main causes are the shortage of affordable housing and the high cost of housing, which leaves many Americans living paycheck to paycheck and one crisis away from homelessness, Olivet said.

Within the overall increase, homelessness among individuals increased by almost 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 U.S. population, but make up 37% of all people experiencing homelessness. And more than a quarter of adults who were homeless were over the age of 54.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here


Hot Topics

Related Articles