Homelessness down in most areas but up overall

Posted on December 6, 2017


The 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress shows that there were 553,742 people experiencing homelessness on a single night in 2017. That’s a .7 percent increase since 2016.  Homelessness for families with children also went down by 5.4 percent. Still, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) says there are now more people and Veterans experiencing long-term chronic homelessness increased.

HUD reports that thirty states and the District of Columbia saw decreases in both 2016 and 2017; however, lack of affordable housing in high cost areas like Los Angeles and New York City is driving the homelessness increase nationally.

For example, the City and County of Los Angeles reported a nearly 26 percent increase in overall homelessness since 2016, primarily among those persons found in unsheltered locations. Meanwhile, New York City reported a 4.1 increase, principally among families in emergency shelters and transitional housing. Excluding these two areas, the estimated number of Veterans experiencing homeless in other parts of the nation decreased 3.1 percent since 2016.

“In many high-cost areas of our country, especially along the West Coast, the severe shortage of affordable housing is manifesting itself on our streets,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “With rents rising faster than incomes, we need to bring everybody to the table to produce more affordable housing and ease the pressure that is forcing too many of our neighbors into our shelters and onto our streets. This is not a federal problem-it’s everybody’s problem.”

“The fact that so many parts of the country are continuing to reduce homelessness gives us confidence that our strategies-and the dedicated efforts of communities to embrace best practices-have been working,” said Matthew Doherty, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council of Homelessness. “At the same time, we know that some communities are facing challenges that require us to redouble our efforts across all levels of government and the public and private sectors, and we are committed to doing that work.”

“Our joint community-based homelessness efforts are working in most communities across the country. Despite a slight increase in overall Veteran homelessness, I am pleased that the majority of communities in the U.S. experienced declines over the past year,” said U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. “VA remains committed to helping Veterans find stable housing. We will continue to identify innovative local solutions, especially in areas where higher rents have contributed to an increase in homelessness among Veterans.”


HUD compiled the latest data from 3000 cities and counties across the U.S. Read more about the report.

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