WASHINGTON — Homelessness in the USA continued to grow this year, driven by soaring levels of homelessness in California, according to a new national report which could prompt long-promised activity for individuals residing in the streets of Los Angeles and San Francisco.
Homelessness climbed 2.7 percent from 2018 to 2019, according to the yearly evaluation from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. That amount was pulled up by a 16.4 percent growth in homelessness in California, which will be fighting with out-of-reach housing expenses and intractable struggles over affordable housing building.
A review of the record was initially published by The Associated Press.
Ben Carson, the secretary of housing and urban growth, blamed welfare programs he said fostered dependence and despair. On President Trump’s beloved cable program,”Fox & Friends,” on Friday, Mr. Carson said coverages which enabled individuals to sleep on roads, bridges and other public areas weren’t compassionate.
Such policies are developing a”health hazard,” he stated, discouraging displaced people from moving”into the areas which are actually supposed to help them escape the circumstance.”
“We have to supply a mechanism for individuals to ascend from a level of dependence and despair and achieve the ideal location,” Mr. Carson said.
Senior Trump government officials visited California in September to troubleshoot ways to minimize homelessness. Over the summer, Mr. Trump said on Fox News that his administration was “looking very seriously” at abating the homelessness crisis.
The administration has yet to release its promised homelessness plan for California, but activists fear Mr. Trump’s pending executive order could crack down on homeless encampments, give more resources to police departments to clear shanty towns and threaten cities that fail to control their homeless populations.
A White House Council of Economic Advisers report in September emphasized criminal justice responses to ending homelessness. And an aggressive response would be in keeping with other Trump administration actions against California, which has already been threatened with a loss of federal highway funding over a backlog of pollution-control plans.
“We know that there is a lot of homelessness in California, but we also know there’s a lot of homelessness nationally, and what’s driving that is increased housing costs,” said Maria Foscarinis, the founder and executive director of the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty.
“Housing costs are going up dramatically in many parts of the country, including in California, and that’s driving increases in homelessness as well as a housing crunch for many people,” she said.
The HUD report said 568,000 people experienced homelessness on a single night in January 2019, according to The A.P., up from last year’s count of 553,000. But the number of homeless veterans and homeless families with children declined.
According to The A.P., the states with the lowest rates of homelessness per 10,000 people were Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Virginia and North Dakota. The states with the highest rates were New York, Hawaii, California, Oregon and Washington.
Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington announced Thursday that he would spend $300 million to end homelessness.
The figures are based on people in shelters and people who are visible and counted in public.
If anything, Ms. Foscarinis said, those numbers are “a severe undercount.”
The summary of the report comes after the Trump administration has taken a number of steps that have worried advocates for homeless people.
In December, the White House appointed Robert Marbut, a former homelessness consultant, to direct the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, which works with 19 federal departments and agencies to address the matter. Mr. Marbut has worked with cities in states such as California and Florida to build homeless shelters equipped with job training, mental health services, and other support services. His shelters often have an outside courtyard where people who have broken rules are told to sleep.
Mr. Marbut told HuffPost in 2014 that he believed in “Housing Fourth,” which breaks from the widely accepted “housing first” philosophy that holds that people need to be given stable shelter before they can be expected take advantage of other support services such as job training or mental health counseling.
Mr. Marbut is succeeding Matthew Doherty, who was pushed out in November.
In April, the housing department proposed a rule that would bar families with undocumented immigrants from receiving housing assistance. The public comment period closed in July and over 30,000 public comments were submitted. The department must consider those comments before completing the rule.
In May, the department proposed requiring homeless shelters to make transgender clients use bathrooms and sleeping accommodations that match their biological sex, a rule that some feared would open transgender homeless people to abuse in shelters and keep them on the streets. The public comment period has not opened yet.
In August, the department proposed raising the legal bar to prove that a landlord, insurance company or lender is guilty of housing discrimination, setting a standard that civil rights advocates say would make proving discrimination virtually impossible.