Population of homeless people in NY City and LA has increased by 27 percent
Federal statistics from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) annual survey of over 3,000 cities and counties show the number of people living in emergency shelters and on streets in a number of major US cities, including New York and Los Angeles, has grown since January 2012.
According to the recent federal statistics, the overall number of homeless people across the US has fallen by 4 percent from 633,782 to 610,042; however, the story is different in some large cities.
On one night in January per locality, HUD field workers conduct the department’s annual survey by tallying the number of people living in shelters, transitional housing, and other locations like cars and abandoned buildings.
The data showed that almost a quarter of all homeless people in the US are under the age of 18.
Federal officials have said increases in the number of homeless Americans in major cities were driven by a jump in the number of households who could not afford to pay their rent any longer. Meanwhile, there has been a 43 percent increase since 2007 in the number of very poor renters, people who pay more than half of their income in rent.
New York’s mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has promised to deal with the issue by giving priority to homeless families for a portion of public housing apartments and rental subsidies. Blasio is to take office in January.
Nevertheless, a professor of social policy at the University of Pennsylvania, Dennis P. Culhane, who helped direct the research in the federal report on homelessness, says the problem of homelessness in the US is expected to get worse before getting better.
Moreover, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan has warned that further budget cuts by US Congress would compound the problem.
“We cannot balance our budget on the backs of the most vulnerable in our society,” The New York Times quoted Donovan as saying. “It is simply wrong, but it’s also fiscally foolish.”