Since 2010, the number of homeless people has declined in the U.S., from 637,077 in 2010 to 564,708 in 2015, but many major cities have seen increases in homeless populations in recent years, reports The Wall Street Journal staffers Arian Campo-Flores, Cameron McWhirter, and Alejandro Lazo.
In New York, the homeless population increased nearly 42% to 75,323 from 53,187. In Seattle, it grew 12% to 10,122 from 9,022. HUD’s figures include both sheltered homeless—those living in shelters or transitional housing—and unsheltered homeless—those living on the street, in cars or other unsuitable places.
A variety of factors can cause homelessness. Incomes aren’t keeping pace with rising rents in some high-price markets, and demand for affordable housing far outstrips supply, according to a 2015 study by the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. In 2013, there were only 34 affordable units in the U.S. for every 100 extremely low-income renters, those earning 30% of the median in the area, the study found.