Report: Homelessness on the Rise in the United States, Again

A new federal report finds a few reasons for optimism in a nationwide homeless count, but the numbers of homeless in the United States have grown for the second year in a row.
December 23, 2018, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Fabrice Florin

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released its "2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress" [pdf] report last week.

"Despite the booming economy, homelessness in the United States rose slightly for the second year in a row, with spikes in high-rent cities like New York and Seattle," reports Glenn Thrush of the report's findings.

"Over all, the national rate of homelessness rose by a modest 0.3 percent to 552,830 people without stable living conditions, the report found. But that represented the second annual increase after seven straight years of declines — the result, in part, of rapidly increasing housing costs that have only recently shown signs of leveling off," adds Thrush. Thrush's coverage, for the New York Times, focused on the bleak, and worsening, homelessness situation in the country.

The report inspired public relations work from HUD and additional media coverage, which are revealing for their differences.

The Associated Press reported from Los Angeles, which achieved a slight decrease in its homeless numbers, which city officials credited to the success of new programs enabled by voter-approved taxes in 2017.

An article by Kelsey Ramirez cut the bad news about the increase in overall homelessness with good news about decreasing veteran and family homelessness.

A press release from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development was the only communication to claim that homelessness isn't worsening around the country as a whole. Instead, reads the headline, homelessness is "unchanged in 2018."

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Published on Monday, December 17, 2018 in The New York Times
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