US homelessness soars 12% to highest levels ever recorded

Sat, 16 Dec 2023 7:45 GMT
Rise largely fueled by people experiencing homeless for first time as rents soar, pandemic-era funding dries up.
US homelessness soars 12% to highest levels ever recorded

The number of people experiencing homelessness in the US soared 12% to hit an all-time high, fueled largely by people who became homeless for the first time, according to data released Friday.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) 2023 Point-in-Time estimate found that more than 650,000 people were without a home during a single night in January 2023. That is the largest number ever recorded since data collection began in 2007.

The rise in homelessness is "largely due" to those who have become homeless for the first time, HUD said, noting that the spike has come as pandemic-era funds are quickly drying up as rents continue to skyrocket across the nation.

Rental housing costs were "extraordinarily challenging" in the year prior to the latest count, HUD said.

"This rate of rent growth has now moderated thanks to housing under construction becoming available to rent in the coming year, but the supply shortage of 2022 likely contributed to this increase in rents and homelessness in 2022," it added.

About 28% of those experiencing homelessness in the US, or roughly 186,100 people, were part of a family with children. That number increased by over 25,000 people from 2022 to 2023, putting an end to what was a downward trend among that group since 2012.

As the figures were rolled out, HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge maintained that homelessness "is solvable and should not exist in the United States."

"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," she said in a statement accompanying the report.


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