Posted by Adriana Belmonte | 14 January 2019 | 1,262 times
Across some of the biggest U.S. cities, rent prices are continuing to rise for lower-income Americans. Meanwhile, an estimated 553,000 people experienced homelessness in 2018, according to Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) data.
And a recent Zillow study — which estimated the number of homeless people in America to be closer to 661,000 — found a specific correlation between rent affordability and the rate of homelessness at a certain threshold: “Communities where people spend more than 32 percent of their income on rent can expect a more rapid increase in homelessness.”
Alexander Casey, a policy advisor on Zillow’s Economic Research team, explained to Yahoo Finance that “15% of the U.S. population lives in areas where a staggering 47% of the homeless population lives. And these are areas where rents are 29% higher on average than the rest of the U.S. And most of these communities are already past this 32% tipping point.”
Zillow researchers clustered different communities together based on “how they’re experiencing rising poverty rates, existing homelessness, homelessness rates, and declining affordability.” The places where people are most at risk of homelessness, according to the study, included New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, and Boston, “which all have crossed the 32 percent affordability threshold.”
The three U.S. cities with the most homeless people in 2018 were New York (78,676), Los Angeles (49,955), and Seattle (12,112), according to the most recent HUD data. A 2016 Wall Street Journal report highlighted that while overall homelessness in America was declining, the homeless population in these cities and others had risen rapidly since 2010.
“We attribute a great majority of homelessness to rent affordability,” Megan Hustings, interim director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, told Yahoo Finance. She added that gentrification plays a big role in it, along with public housing developments in urban areas being torn down and the overall “continuous decline of affordable housing units.”
In June 2018, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) received widespread criticism after an Associated Press analysis found that a proposed HUD plan would raise the rent of low-income tenants by about 20%. (Due to the ongoing government shutdown, HUD could not be reached for comment about public housing developments.) (Yahoo)
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