Homelessness in the U.S. reached an eight-year high in 2022, according to the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
The homeless population reached 582,462 people in January, a 0.3% increase from 2020, which represents the highest number of homeless people since 2014, when 578,424 people were reported homeless, according to HUD data from single-night annual homeless assessment reports from 2014 to 2022.
Single individuals and chronically homeless individuals accounted for the majority of the increase, as single individuals increased by 3.1% and chronically homeless individuals increased by 16% between 2020 and 2022, according to the report. Though the homeless population as a whole continues to rise, the number of homeless veterans decreased by 11%, the number of families with children experiencing homelessness declined by 6% and the number of people under the age of 25 who experienced homelessness declined by 12%.
As the homeless population continues to grow, many cities have implemented different methods to address the issue. In Seattle, the King County Council proposed a 500-person homeless megaplex in the China Town International District (Chinatown-ID). Many residents pushed back against the plan, saying the megaplex would be the final blow to an already struggling community.
In Los Angeles, newly elected Democratic Mayor Karen Bass announced a homelessness state of emergency earlier this month. Los Angeles previously attempted to curb its homeless population by providing emergency vouchers for the homeless, but only 6% of the 3,365 emergency housing vouchers were ever used. Meanwhile, the homeless death rate jumped from from 1.7% to 3.5%, as five deaths a day were recorded in 2022.
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