Friday, August 26, 2011

Quick Facts: Homelessness in US


The homeless population in the United States increased by approximately 20,000 people -- or 3 percent -- from 2008 to 2009.
A majority -- 31 of 50 states and the District of Columbia -- had increases in their homeless counts. The largest increase was in Louisiana, where the homeless population doubled. While most people experiencing homelessness are sheltered, nearly 4 in 10 were living on the street, in a car, or in another place not intended for human habitation. From 2008 to 2009, the number of unemployed people in the United States increased by 60 percent from 8.9 million to 14.3 million people. Nearly three-quarters of all U.S. households with incomes below the federal poverty line spend over 50 percent of monthly household income on rent.

While real income among all U.S. workers decreased by 1 percent in 2009, poor workers' income decreased even more -- dropping by 2 percent to $9,151. Poor workers in Alaska, the District of Columbia, Maine, and Rhode Island saw their incomes decrease by more than 10 percent. Foreclosure affected nearly half a million more households in 2009 than in 2008, a 21 percent increase for a total of 2.8 million foreclosed units in 2009. The number of foreclosed units more than doubled in Alabama, Hawaii, Idaho, Mississippi, and West Virginia.

Half of all states have multiple risk factors for increased homelessness; that is, they have rates worse than the national average on at least two of five indicators -- unemployment, foreclosure, doubled-up, housing cost burden, and lack of health insurance. California, Florida, and Nevada -- states known to have been disproportionately impacted by the recent housing crisis -- have both high rates of homelessness and high levels of unemployment, foreclosure, housing cost burden, lack of insurance, and doubling-up.

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