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Homelessness Surges to Highest Levels in History Under President Biden

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Homelessness Surges to Highest Levels in History Under President Biden's

The number of Americans experiencing homelessness has surged to its highest recorded level during President Biden‘s administration. Skyrocketing rents, which have rendered housing unaffordable for an increasing number of Americans, federal officials said on Friday

There were 653,000 persons without homes, the highest number since the nation started collecting a point-in-time survey in 2007. The sum in the January tally is up around 70,650 over the same month last year.

Newly homeless persons accounted for the bulk of the rise, according to the most recent assessment. An upward trend in family homelessness that started in 2012 came to an end with an increase.

“For those on the frontlines of this epidemic, it’s not shocking,” stated Ann Oliva, chief executive officer of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, an advocacy group.

According to Marcia Fudge, secretary of housing and urban development, the statistics highlight a “urgent need” to fund tried-and-true programs that assist the homeless in escaping homelessness as soon as possible and work to eliminate homelessness altogether.

Homelessness Surges to Highest Levels in History Under President Biden's

The United States made consistent headway in lowering the homeless population for around ten years from the initial survey in 2007—a period during which the government prioritized expanding funding to house veterans.

From 637,000 in 2010 to 554,000 in 2017, the homeless population decreased.

As a result of emergency rental assistance, stimulus grants, aid to states and local governments, and a temporary eviction moratorium, the figures remained roughly constant for the following two years, rising to approximately 580,000 in the 2020 count.

Additional aid “held off the rise in homelessness that we are now seeing,” according to Jeff Olivet, head of the federal body known as the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. According to him, there are a lot of causes behind the issue.

Many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck and are one catastrophe away from homelessness due to the high cost of housing and the shortage of affordable homes, according to Olivet.

Homelessness increased across the board, but it increased by roughly 11% among individuals, 7.4% among veterans, and 15.5% among families with children.

While Black people only account for around 13% of the U.S. population, they made up 37% of the homeless population. Hispanics and Latinos account for around 19% of the population but 33.0% of the homeless population. Additionally, individuals older than 54 made up more than 25% of the homeless population.

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Rent increases in 2022 were more than double the rate of previous years, making housing circumstances “extraordinarily challenging,” according to HUD.

According to the report, the trend has been declining since January. When housing authorities and volunteers across the nation start the next homeless count in a matter of weeks, this reprieve could prove to be beneficial.

Among other initiatives aimed at reducing homelessness, officials also mentioned that President Joe Biden’s budget for this fiscal year has proposed guaranteed vouchers for low-income veterans and adolescents aging out of foster care.

Four states—Washington, California, New York, and Florida—accounted for over half of the nation’s homeless population. Even though California is home to about a quarter of the country’s homeless population, the state’s pace of increase was just half the national average. More than three times the national rate of homelessness increased in New York, according to HUD’s data.

Among the states where homelessness increased at the highest rates were New York, New Hampshire, Colorado, and New Mexico. Overall, 41 states and DC saw an increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness, while only 9 states saw a reduction.

Housing costs skyrocketed following the pandemic, according to Dave Giffen, New York City’s executive director of The Coalition for the Homeless.

The removal of safeguards put in place during the pandemic coincided with a resurgence in homelessness.

There was a spike in evictions and a general lack of stability in housing, according to Giffen. “However, the city and state were ill-equipped to handle the unexpected and extremely fast surge of new asylum seekers, which obscured all of that.”

Overflowing busses of foreign migrants from states around the southern U.S. border have been piling up in New York City’s homeless shelters since the summer of 2022. There have been about 150,000 migrants who have spent time in the city’s shelters.

In an effort to alleviate what he predicts would be a housing cost for migrants that reaches into the billions of dollars in the coming years, Mayor Eric Adams has formally requested federal aid. He has scolded the Texas governor for organizing the transportation of Texans to New York by bus. Adams, a Democrat, has also sought changes to the law and the bureaucracy that would streamline the process of obtaining work permits for migrants.

Although certain areas did report an increase in homelessness as a result of migrants and asylum seekers, HUD was unable to collect statistics that would have allowed them to isolate this issue. Cities and states have received over $1 billion in grant money from the Biden administration to cover essential migrant needs. An unnamed senior official from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) indicated that the report is also cataloguing possible government properties and structures that may be used as shelters and other services for migrants.

Some localities defied the national trend, which HUD attempted to emphasize by highlighting advances. As an example, there was a 49% decrease from the 2022 count to this year’s in the Chattanooga, Tennessee, and surrounding region. Chattanooga stepped up its efforts to prevent homelessness and link people to permanent housing more quickly.

Newark and Essex County, New Jersey, and Dallas, Texas, both witnessed declines of 3.8% and 16.7%, respectively, and were among the other communities singled out for this. There has been a 17% decrease in unsheltered homelessness and the city of Houston has closed many homeless encampments. There were also calls for improvement in Tucson, Arizona, and San Jose, California.

Source: The Associated Press

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