The Homelessness Spike Happening All Around Us Is Just A Hint Of What Is Coming Next

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The homelessness crisis that is taking over our core urban areas is getting so out of control that tent cities are emerging everywhere, even next to the U.S. Supreme Court. Soaring rents and the most expensive housing prices in U.S. history are triggering a wave of evictions and foreclosures like nothing we have ever seen. In poorer communities, the lack of access to basic resources is putting millions of people in extreme situations. This crisis is spreading so rapidly that now middle-class Americans are also ending up without a home. That’s according to a new report from Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies.

Researchers say that the United States is currently facing the biggest homelessness spike since 2012. In fact, since the pandemic, the population of unhoused Americans grew by 48%, with 12% of that increase happening over the past 12 months. From the first quarter of 2023 to the first quarter of 2024, almost 100,000 Americans started experiencing homelessness, which represented the largest single-year increase ever recorded. Today, it is estimated that more than 653,000 people in our country are living in the streets.

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However, housing advocates argue that a more accurate figure for the population of unhoused Americans stands at roughly 3 million people. That includes people living in their vehicles, abandoned buildings, and alternative shelters. The latest statistics indicate that people becoming homeless for the first time were behind much of the surge.

With government assistance out of the reach of everyday Americans, the rate of evictions exceeded a 10-year record high in January 2024, and over 1 million cases were reported year-over-year. “We know there’s health consequences, it’s an incredibly traumatic event, especially for children,” said Daniel Grubs-Donovan, a research specialist with the Princeton University’s Eviction Lab.

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Within the overall rise, homelessness among individuals went up by 11%, while jumping 7.4% among U.S. veterans, 15.5% among families with children. Additionally, more than a quarter of adults experiencing homelessness were over age 54, which highlights the fact that many Americans nearing or at retirement ages are currently living in poverty.

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