For the first time sine 2010, the overall total of homelessness in the US is up +0.7% according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Specifically, the number of homeless people tallied 553,742 nation-wide so far in 2017. The number of homeless families with children living outside or in shelters is 58,000 and the number of unaccompanied homes youth and children is nearly 41,000.
Shockingly, the number of chronically, long term homeless people is up +12% when compared to the ”like” number in 2016.
Also worrying is that the number of homeless veterans is up +1.5% nationally despite “…continuing investments in veterans’ programs and improvements in approaches…” said Nan Roman, president and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. “We might expect to have seen a continuing downward trend in homelessness…and we are not.”
Most experts attribute the increase in homelessness to severe shortages of affordable housing. In Los Angeles alone, homelessness is up an overwhelming +26%.
Ronan is concerned that the homeless situation could worsen due to two things. First, the Trump Administration is proposing large cuts to low-income housing subsidies that many people rely on to “stay housed.” Second, as it currently stands though not yet passed, the GOP tax proposal could discourage investment in affordable new construction by reducing tax credits currently used by builders and developers.
Much of the progress that has been made in reducing homelessness from 2010 through 2016 has been due to joint efforts among non-profits, the private sector and the government.
We’re already seeing the fallout from less government participation in these joint efforts as homelessness percentages inch up. We’ll know more about future projections once the proposed tax bill and housing subsidies become more clearly defined.