California’s homelessness crisis is the worst in the US. But who is struggling the most?

An encampment of people who are homeless in San Diego, California, on 20 August 2023. California continues to lead the nation in homelessness, with US data showing the state has the highest rate of unhoused people living outside in a worsening humanitarian crisis. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (Hud) released its Annual Homeless Assessment Report (Ahar) on Friday, providing a “point in time” snapshot from January 2023. On a single day, 653,104 people experiencing homelessness were counted across the US, the highest number since the count began in 2007. The estimates are considered to be undercounts . California, the most populous state with the highest overall number of unhoused people, helped drive the surge. Experts and advocates say the lack of available affordable housing is the primary cause of homelessness in the state, exacerbated by the expiration of pandemic programs that had expanded shelter and protected tenants from eviction. Here are some key report takeaways. California counted 181,399 people experiencing homelessness in January. Of those, 123,423 people (68%) were “unsheltered”, meaning living outside in tents, cars or other makeshift shelters, as opposed to indoor shelters or temporary setups. At 68%, the state has a greater share of its homeless population living outdoors than any other state and accounts for 49% of all people living on the streets in the US. In most states, a majority of the homeless population is indoors. New York, for example, has one of the largest overall homeless populations, but only 4.9% were on the streets. The five major US metro areas with the highest rates of unsheltered people were all in California: the San Jose region (75% of its homeless population was living on the streets), Los Angeles (73%), the Oakland region (73%), Long Beach (72%) and Sacramento (72%). And the two […]

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By Donato