The problem of homelessness has been improved in America over the last several years. While the figures had begun to fall over the decade just ended, the COVID-19 pandemic may have accelerated this improvement. Cities have invested billions of dollars to shelter and aid the homeless. However, the issues involved are involute and money has not lessened the trouble enough to come close to eliminating homelessness, nor have a raft of social service programs.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has just released its “2021 Annual Homeless Assessment Report Part 1 to Congress”. The report focused on the “sheltered homeless” who are those in emergency shelters, transitional housing, and similar facilities. Approximately 326,000 people were sheltered homeless on a single night in 2021, an 8% drop from the year before.
The report focuses on three groups–sheltered homeless people with families, sheltered homeless individuals, and sheltered homeless veterans. The numbered of sheltered families declined, and the number of individuals stayed flat. Some communities that might have provided data did not, so the report should be considered incomplete.
HUD admits much work still needs to be done. Commenting on the report, Secretary Marcia L. Fudge said: “Yet we know that homelessness in America remains an urgent crisis. As long as people in this nation continue to lack affordable, secure housing, our work to put Housing First is not done.” Housing First is a program meant to support permanent housing for those who do not have it.
The report also broke out the number of sheltered homeless by city and state. Four states had almost 50% of the sheltered homeless–New York (76,051), California (51,429), Massachusetts (13,944), and Florida (13,393). In terms of the percentage of beds available for the homeless, New York State has the highest occupancy rate at 88.3%, followed by New Jersey at 84.7%, and Vermont at 83.9%. At the other end of the spectrum, occupancy in Mississippi was 47.5%, followed by West Virginia at 48.3%.
Among cities, the one with the most homeless people was New York City at 65,975. Second-place Los Angeles was well behind at 17,225.
Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor
Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.