Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Number of Homeless Has Declined since 2007

Every January in communities across the country the homeless are counted in a one-night census. The recently released 2018 report on the homeless has both good news and bad. The good news is that the number of homeless has fallen considerably since 2007. The bad news is that there are still more than half a million people living in shelters or on the street and the number has increased for the past two years.

Number of homeless in the U.S.
2018: 552,830
2017: 550,996
2016: 549,928
2015: 564,708
2010: 637,077
2007: 647,258

The nationwide effort to count the homeless divides the homeless population into individuals and families with children. Of the 372,417 homeless individuals in 2018, 52 percent were in shelters and the rest were on the street. Seventy percent of homeless individuals were men and 30 percent were women, transgender, or gender non-conforming, according to the Housing and Urban Development report to Congress. Among homeless individuals, 54 percent were White, 35 percent were Black, and 19 percent were Hispanic. Among homeless families with children, Blacks accounted for 51 percent.

Not surprisingly, the most populous state also has the largest number of homeless. California accounted for 30 percent of homeless individuals in 2018 and nearly half (49 percent) of the nation's unsheltered homeless. Among cities, Los Angeles had the largest number of homeless—42,079 in 2018. New York City was second with 33,391 homeless.

The 2019 count of the homeless is happening this week—it is conducted during the last 10 days of January. The 2019 report on the homeless population will be released by the end of the year. It will show us whether the number of homeless ticked upward for the third year in a row.

Source: US Department of Housing and Urban Development, The 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress

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