Record High of Homelessness in America

The United States has seen a significant increase in homelessness, with a report from the House and Urban Development (HUD) indicating that around 653,000 people are homeless, marking the highest number on record. According to the HUD report, the surge in homelessness is attributed to inflation, the end of pandemic-era eviction protections, and a housing supply crunch which are posing significant challenges for people across the country in paying skyrocketing rents.

The HUD’s annual 2023 Point-in-Time Count, which measured homelessness on a single night in January 2023, revealed a 12 percent increase in homelessness compared to the previous year, with the number reaching 653,104, the highest since the agency launched the point-in-time gauge in 2007. The rising homelessness was most notable among families with children, which saw a 15.5 percent rise, and among unaccompanied youths, which increased by 15.3 percent.

Former Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake, who is running for U.S. Senate, blamed President Joe Biden’s policies for fueling homelessness, stating that in Biden’s America, it’s almost impossible for people to afford a home.

According to HUD, the surge in homelessness is due mostly to a sharp increase in the number of people experiencing homelessness for the first time, with a 25 percent spike between fiscal years 2021 and 2022. The record-setting homelessness follows steep rent increases combined with stagnant renter household incomes.

Given these grim statistics, the CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness is calling for “urgent and overdue investments in affordable housing and rental assistance,” as well as more funding for housing support services to help homeless people find permanent housing quickly. Kari Lake has proposed a policy to fix the homeless crisis, which includes banning urban camping and providing federal lands and funding for controlled camping and shelter facilities to get people off city streets.

The president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition has also urged for more federal investment to make housing more affordable, stressing that the affordable housing and homelessness crises in the country will only continue to worsen without significant and sustained federal investments.

The rise in the shelter index within the Consumer Price Index continued to rise in November, increasing by 0.4 percent month-over-month and 6.5 percent year-over-year. In response to the housing shortage in the United States and higher interest rates that have driven more people to rent, cities and states have begun to pursue rent control measures, with several states considering proposals to add rent control.

In conclusion, the surge in homelessness and rising housing costs in the United States have posed significant challenges, prompting calls for immediate action and investment in affordable housing and rental assistance, as well as the consideration of policy measures such as rent control. The situation remains a pressing issue, and it demands the attention and collaborative efforts of policymakers, community leaders, and advocacy groups to mitigate the impact of homelessness on individuals and families across the country.

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