US Homelessness is Way Down; So Why Isn't Anyone Talking About It?

Despite a deep recession driven by a housing bust, the National Alliance to End Homelessness estimates that homelessness dropped by 17 percent from 2005 to 2012. This is astonishing news, right? So why aren't politicians trumpeting this decline?

1 minute read

August 30, 2013, 7:00 AM PDT

By Jonathan Nettler @nettsj


Homelessness

kupiasity / Flickr

From President George W. Bush’s "housing first" program to President Obama's Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program, federal initiatives have been remarkably successful in reducing homelessness. "The decline of homelessness over the past eight years is nothing short of a blue-moon public policy triumph," writes Stephen Lurie. "Why don’t you know about it?"

"Could it be because we’d prefer not to hear about it?" he asks. "In the next few years, as Washington looks to cut spending across the board, the public’s aversion to homelessness could contribute to its return." 

"As quietly as homelessness has fallen, so too it will go up quietly – unless there is major intervention," Lurie cautions. "The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development estimates that sequestration cuts from homelessness programs are set to expel 100,000 people from a range of housing and shelter programs this year. That’s nearly one sixth of the current total homeless population. Far from gently raising the homeless rate, it would undo a full decade of progress."


Monday, August 26, 2013 in The Atlantic

Rendering of electric scooters, electric cars, light rail train, and apartments in background.

Arizona’s ‘Car-Free’ Community Takes Shape

Culdesac Tempe has been welcoming residents since last year.

February 14, 2024 - The Cool Down

Aerial view of suburban sprawl with large single-family homes near Dallas, Texas.

The Changing Shape of American Suburbs

Housing costs and availability are pushing more American households, including young families, to suburbs and exurbs — and they’re demanding changes.

February 13, 2024 - Business Insider

Aerial view of New York City architecture with augmented reality visualization, blue digital holograms over buildings and skyscrapers

4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design

With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.

February 20, 2024 - ArchDaily

Google street view of wide grassy median in Beverly Hills, California.

Beverly Hills Installs First ‘Green Street’

A three-block median featuring native plants and bioswales is part of the city’s broader effort to reduce water consumption and pollution.

February 22 - Beverly Press

Habitat for Humanity volunteers in construction helmets buildign a wood-frame house.

Habitat for Humanity and Missoula Land Trust Team up on Affordable Housing

The partnership will ensure the new homes will remain affordable for future buyers.

February 22 - KPAX

Orange California poppies in bloom over gently rolling hills in Southern California's Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve.

Experiencing California's Antelope Valley Poppy Reserve

Located in the western Mojave Desert, this stunning state natural reserve is renowned for its breathtaking displays of California poppies and has even been referred to as California's most beautiful place.

February 22 - California.com

News from HUD User

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

The Walkable City

Harvard GSD Executive Education

New Updates on PD&R Edge

HUD's Office of Policy Development and Research

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.