The City With Most Homelessness in America Is Not Where You Think

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After a bitter fight between President Trump and politicians in California about the homelessness problem in some of its cities, new research shows just how deep the problem is across major cities in the largest state. However, the city with the highest rate of homelessness is not in California, even if, overall, the state’s large cities rank high among those with the most problems.

The White House has just issued a The State of Homelessness in America report. It puts the homeless into two categories. Those who have found shelters represent about two-thirds of the population, and the other third are found “unsheltered” on the streets. That is about 200,000 people in the U.S on any given night.

When the unsheltered and sheltered populations are combined, Washington, D.C. has 103.3 homeless per 10,000 people, which makes it the city with the highest homelessness level in America. Boston follows at 101.8, New York at 101.5, San Francisco at 94.3 and Santa Rosa in California at 59.8. Each of these cities has figures that are over six times the national rate.

Indeed, almost half (47%) of unsheltered people are found in California. The report points out “Among the five cities with the highest rates of unsheltered homelessness, four are in California (San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Rosa, and San Jose), and the other is Seattle.” Here are the states with the most unsheltered homeless people.

There are several political and expert opinions about how to solve the problem. Much of the debate is over affordable housing. However the debate concludes (and it may never be), in cities led by Washington, people live without homes night after night. Here is the city hit hardest by extreme poverty in every state.


Rate of Homelessness per 10,000 in Continuums of Care With Top Five Highest Rates, 2018

Overall CoC Rate Sheltered CoC Rate Unsheltered CoC Rate
Washington DC 103.3 Boston 99.1 San Francisco 58.9
Boston 101.8 New York 96.7 Los Angeles 40.4
New York 101.5 Washington DC 94.3 Santa Rosa 38.5
San Francisco 94.3 San Francisco 34.4 Seattle 30.9
Santa Rosa 59.8 Baltimore 32.2 San Jose 30.3

Note: Counts are conducted by Continuums of Care (CoCs), which are composed of a single city, a single county, a group of counties or an entire state.


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