Record homelessness levels in the US as rents skyrocket

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US homelessness hits highest level as rents have soared

Washington, DC

As housing in the US has become increasingly unaffordable over the past few years, the number of people experiencing homelessness surged to its highest level on record this year, according to an annual survey taken in January.

The number of unhoused people in the United States jumped by 12% early this year from the year before, an increase of about 70,650 people, according to an annual report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development released on Friday.

Known as a “point-in-time” estimate, the annual snapshot looks at the number of individuals nationwide who are living in shelters, temporary housing and unsheltered settings on one night last January. The report found that more than 650,000 people were experiencing homelessness that night, the most since reporting began in 2007.

“Homelessness is solvable and should not exist in the United States,” said HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge in a statement. “We’ve made positive strides, but there is still more work to be done. This data underscores the urgent need for support for proven solutions and strategies that help people quickly exit homelessness and that prevent homelessness in the first place.”

Homelessness increased nationwide across all household types, the report found, but had an outsized impact on communities of color. While Black people make up about 13% of the US population, they comprise 37% of people experiencing homelessness and 50% of the people who are experiencing homelessness as a member of a family with children.


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