Homelessness increasing nationally, King County among the worst
If you feel like you’re seeing more and more people without a home, it might be true. According to a new report from the federal government, more people appear to be experiencing homelessness in King County.
The data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) shows that 582,462 people do not have permanent residency listed, with many forced to live in their cars, in shelters, or on the streets.
That is up 0.3% from last year, which might not seem like too much but the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impacts could have led to significant increases in homelessness, especially in the increase in people living in shelters versus on the street.
According to the report, King County and Los Angeles County have the largest number of veterans who are unhoused.
Seattle and King County is the metro area with the third highest homeless population after New York and Los Angeles. The report estimates that there are 13,000+ people experiencing homelessness in Seattle.
“Data shows that homelessness remains a national crisis, but it also shows that the historic investments this Administration has made to address this issue, can work,” said U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Secretary Marcia L. Fudge. “The Biden-Harris Administration is working to significantly reduce homelessness across the country and combat the racial and ethnic disparities resulting from systemic racism.”
Homelessness among people in shelters declined by 1.6%, while homelessness among people in unsheltered settings increased by 3.4% compared to two years ago.
Other groups also saw decreasing rates of homelessness, including veterans, which has decreased by 11% in the past two years and 55% over the past 10 years. Youth homelessness is also down 6%, as well as people under 25 experiencing homelessness have decreased by 12%.
While homelessness among certain populations has decreased, homelessness in other groups has risen substantially. The number of chronically homeless individuals though, (individuals with disabilities experiencing homelessness for long periods of time) increased by 16% between 2020 and 2022.
To address this rise in homelessness, the HUD has released a new initiative the Initiative to Address Unsheltered and Rural Homelessness which will start in 2023.