At Current Rate of Decline, Homelessness in U.S. Won’t be Eradicated for Another 40 Years

Tuesday, November 24, 2015
(photo: Jacquelyn Martin, AP)

The United States has made progress in reducing the number of homeless. That’s the good news. The bad news is the rate of decline is so slow that it will take another 40 years to end chronic homelessness in America.


A new report (pdf) from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) says the number of those living without proper housing has gone down every year since 2010. Last year, for example, the number of homeless in the U.S. dropped by 2%, or 11,742 individuals. Homelessness among youth and veterans declined even faster, according to ThinkProgress. Still, the number of homeless exceeds 560,000, with 69% of those people staying in shelters.


Government programs and other initiatives are getting 14,474 people out of homelessness each year, Scott Keyes wrote at ThinkProgress. At that pace, U.S. homelessness won’t be eliminated until 2054.


The homeless rate would drop faster if Congress were to restore cuts to Section 8 housing funds and provide more funding for mental health treatment, Keyes wrote.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

The 2015 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress (by Meghan Henry, Azim Shivji, Tanya de Sousa, and Rebecca Cohen, Abt Associates Inc., U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) (pdf)

At The Current Rate, the U.S. Won’t End Homelessness for Another 40 Years (by Scott Keyes, ThinkProgress)

Many Fire Departments Spend more Time Tending to Homeless than Fighting Fires (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

More than One Million Schoolchildren in U.S. are Homeless (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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