Across the United States, the drop in homelessness over the last decade has been remarkable, especially considering the depths of the Great Recession. And over the past year, the decline has continued with an additional 4 percent drop. But data released last week by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development tells a different story for New York and Los Angeles.
"In New York, where the shelter population has reached levels not seen since the Depression era, the count in January estimated 64,060 homeless people in shelters and on the street in January 2013, or 13 percent more than in January 2012," reports Mireya Navarro. "Among large cities, only Los Angeles had a larger percentage increase. Its homeless population rose by 27 percent, although its total of 53,798 was lower than New York’s."
"Federal officials said the increases were driven by a rise in families who could no longer pay their rent, a problem that is more acute in areas where affordable housing is scarce and rents are especially high," notes Navarro.