Homelessness Trends from 2018 and What They Could Mean for 2019
From: How Housing Matters
By: Oriya Cohen
Some wonderful insight. Four trends to look for in 2019.
Thank you Oriya Cohen for researching this.
We at RSLWC take pride in keeping up with the trends.
In 2018, communities across the country faced a continuing housing affordability crisis—and, in some places, natural disasters—that strained the ability of local actors to address homelessness. After declining for almost a decade, the number of people experiencing homelessness in the United States increased for the second year in a row. According to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, 552,830 people lived in emergency shelters, lived in transitional housing, or were not sheltered at all; nearly 2,000 more people than in 2017. This growth was driven by an increase in unsheltered and chronically homeless individuals but was balanced out by significant decreases in homelessness among families with children and veterans. Substantial local variation among the data was reported across the country, with 31 states and the District of Columbia reporting decreases in homelessness and 19 states reporting increases.
As we approach the 2019 annual Point-in-Time homelessness count, we explore four major homelessness trends in 2018 and what to look for in 2019.
1. Unsheltered homelessness is on the rise
Unsheltered homelessness—spending the night in places not meant for sleeping, such as vehicles, parks, streets, or abandoned buildings—rose for the third consecutive year. From 2017 to 2018, there was a 2 percent increase in people living in unsheltered locations. A moderate increase in unsheltered homelessness among families with children and a large increase in unsheltered homelessness among adults ages 25 and older masked a national decrease in youth living in unsheltered locations.
Unsheltered homelessness is a national problem with local variations. The rate of unsheltered homelessness among families with children was highest in rural areas. In 10 states, including California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, more than half of individuals experiencing homelessness lived in unsheltered locations. Meanwhile, on a night in January, some of the coldest states, such as Maine, North Dakota, and Vermont had the lowest unsheltered rates for individuals, at 6 to 10 percent.
Although home to around 12 percent of the US population, California accounted for 49 percent of all unsheltered individuals across the country and was home to some of the highest rates of unsheltered status among people experiencing homelessness in both urban and rural continuums of care (CoCs). The CoCs that encompassed Fresno, Los Angeles, and San Jose reported unsheltered rates of 89 percent, 85 percent, and 82 percent, respectively; while in rural California, Alpine, Inyo, and Mono Counties reported a 99 percent unsheltered rate, and Lake County reported a 98 percent rate.