Homelessness up by double digits across the country

California is not the only state struggling with homelessness, although it had the fifth-largest increase.

Homelessness has increased by 12 percent in the United States, pushing the county to the highest total in the nation’s history. 

Federal officials announced Friday that around 653,000 people are homeless, a record-high since point-in-time counts started in 2007. 


The big picture: The increase in homelessness is primarily driven by first-time homelessness, ending a downward trend in family homelessness that began in 2012.

  • Within the overall rise in homelessness, there was an 11% increase among individuals, a 7.4% increase among veterans, and a 15.5% increase among families with children.
  • Black and Hispanic individuals comprise a higher proportion of the homeless population compared to their representation in the overall population.

Driving the news: Homelessness across the county had been on a downward trend for much of the 2010s, decreasing from 637,000 in 2010 to 554,000 in 2017. 

  • But by 2020 that number was back up to 580,000, and it has skyrocketed since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • The government responded to the homelessness crisis by providing emergency rental assistance, stimulus payments, aid to states and local governments, and a temporary eviction moratorium, which temporarily held off the rise in homelessness.
  • But homelessness shot up as those measures have winded down.
  • California, New York, Florida, and Washington accounted for more than half of the homeless population in the US, with California and New York experiencing significant increases in homelessness.
  • Some communities, such as Chattanooga, Tennessee, Dallas, and Newark, New Jersey, saw decreases in homelessness due to efforts in connecting people to permanent housing and prevention initiatives.
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