Over half a million Americans are currently homeless. After a period of progress and decline, the U.S. homeless population has increased slightly by two percent according to a report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It now stands at 580,466 with 61 percent of that total living in sheltered accommodation. The national increase is primarily due to a leap in the unsheltered homeless population.
More than half of all unsheltered homeless people in the U.S. – some 51 percent – are in California. That’s nearly nine times as many as the state with the second-highest total of unsheltered homeless which is Texas. Homelessness is primarily an urban issue and more than half of the homeless population is scattered across the country’s 50 biggest cities. Nearly a quarter of them live in just two cities – New York and Los Angeles. Despite its considerable homeless population, New York can at least claim that the vast majority of its rough sleepers are given sheltered accommodation with only 5 percent estimated to be living on the streets. The same cannot be said of the state of California where 70 percent of all homeless people are unsheltered.
The following infographic shows the top-10 worst cities for homelessness across the U.S. with New York in first place with 77,943. It’s important to mention that in this comparison, the data is broken down by CoC – those are Continuums of Care that are local planning bodies coordinating responses to the issue. Los Angeles is in second place with over 63,700 while Seattle/King County comes a distant third with 11,751.
This chart shows CoCs with the largest numbers of people experiencing homelessness in 2020.
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