The pictures and the numbers say enough.
Neglected tent camps in city parks, along streets and under viaducts. Homeless people, many with mental health or drug problems, sprawled on sidewalks or subway seats. Needles and other paraphernalia often around.
The scourge of homelessness in America is huge and shows little sign of improvement.
California was by far the hardest hit. It has about a third of the country’s homeless population, and Los Angeles, San Jose, Oakland and other Golden State cities have some of the highest numbers of unprotected people in the country.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says 582,462 people did not have permanent homes on the one night last January when researchers conducted their study. most recent snapshot survey.
About 60 percent of those in need were in shelters, staying with friends or relatives, or in other temporary shelters. The rest were ‘exposed’ – sleeping in cars, on the street or in derelict buildings.
About one third of the total US homeless population – 171,521 people – is in California. That includes more than half of the country’s unsheltered homeless population, 115,491 people.
Sights like this, the belongings of a homeless person scattered on the street next to a bank in Los Angeles, California, have become a common sight at ATMs across the country
An image of a homeless camp on a street in West Oakland, California, last month as local officials took steps to clear the structures
To capture the magnitude of the problem, DailyMail.com analyzed the department’s data, released late last year, to show which U.S. states and cities have the highest rates of homelessness.
They show that about a third of the total US homeless population – 171,521 people – are in California. That includes more than half of the country’s unsheltered homeless population, 115,491 people.
California also added 9,973 homeless people between 2020 and last year’s survey.
The Golden State has the highest rate of homelessness in the country, with 44 homeless people for every 10,000 residents. It is closely followed by Vermont, Oregon and Hawaii.
Los Angeles is the state’s hot spot, with 65,111 homeless people.
But five other metropolitan hubs — San Jose, Oakland, Sacramento, San Diego and San Francisco — also rank in the top 10 of America’s hardest-hit cities, each with about 10,000 homeless people.
Some 70 percent of Californians say homelessness and the cost of housing are a “major problem” for the state, according to a survey last month by the Public Policy Institute of California, a think tank.
A similar proportion of residents say the problem has gotten worse over the past year. Another 60 percent were “very concerned” that their children would be priced into buying their own homes in the Golden State.
LA Mayor Karen Bass said this week she will take some 4,000 people off the streets in her first 100 days, making a small dent in a homeless crisis that has failed to quell billions in spending.
Bass says she is working with government agencies and service providers to cut through bureaucracy that has eluded progress in the past.
The “game changer is coordination between city and county departments,” she said.
Homeless tents are seen lining a sidewalk near San Francisco City Hall in California
Lux Leigh feeds her cat in front of the RV where she lives in a two-block makeshift encampment in Seattle, Washington
Garbage and personal belongings scattered on a street next to a shabby homeless camp in West Oakland, California
Two men share cigarettes and water with a homeless man struggling to keep cool during the humid Oregon summer
Los Angeles City Councilman Joe Buscaino has complained that children in his city have to step “over needles” and “human waste” on their way to school because of people crashing into residential areas.
“No kid in America should be afraid to walk to school, and what we found in Los Angeles is that kids are afraid to walk to school,” the Democrat said in a televised interview late last year.
“They tell their parents to step over needles and human waste and deal with people who unfortunately suffer from psychotic behavior – right next to their playground.”
In Culver City, California, the homeless crisis has gotten so bad that officials this month voted to clear and ban tents for homeless camps, as several of them had spilled all over the area’s sidewalks.
When that ordinance goes into effect, police may tell homeless residents not to camp on the street if other housing options are available, in an effort to get people off the streets.
California Governor Gavin Newsom has acknowledged that the state was “failing to face the urgency of the crisis” and pledged last November to reduce homelessness by 2 percent by 2024.
He was scheduled to meet with residents this week in Sacramento, where some 9,278 homeless people live.
The crisis has plagued the West Coast. Oregon has one of the highest rates of homelessness in the country and 17,959 people have no permanent place to call home.
Portland residents are selling their homes because of the homeless epidemic plaguing the city.
Some homeowners say they are “afraid” to leave the house because of untreated mental illness among the homeless who hang out in the area.
The crisis has reignited a debate between liberals and conservatives about how to solve the problem of homelessness.
Democratic officials often blame rising rents, greedy landlords and evictions for forcing people onto the streets. Their solution is to distribute the country’s wealth more evenly and build more houses that people can afford.
Culver City officials want to block tents and other structures on the street. Pictured: Homeless Roscoe Billy Ray Bradley Jr
Culver City ordinance, which has no enforcement date, would let homeless people stay on the street with only sleeping bags and blankets
Tents line the streets as the crisis grows, exacerbated by a drug crisis fueled in part by Oregon becoming the first state in the country to decriminalize many hard drugs
Many voters agree. The cost of housing and other necessities is historically high.
Meanwhile, eviction rates, which were blocked in many places during the Covid-19 outbreak, have returned to pre-pandemic levels, according to a Princeton University research team called the Eviction Lab.
Lisa McCormick, a New Jersey Democratic politician, said this week that the “intractable problem” could be solved by reversing the free-market economy.
“Home used to be an important part of the America Dream, but now it’s a nightmare for many of our citizens,” McCormick wrote on social media.
“Reverse Reaganomics: Because It Doesn’t Work.”
Republicans typically say that homelessness is related to the drugs and mental health problems of the homeless themselves.
Giving away rent-free housing does not help people who cannot take care of themselves, they say.
California Senator Scott Wilk, who represents an area north of LA, said this week that the state needed new policies.
“$20 billion spent over 5 years. 171,521 people are currently experiencing homelessness in the Golden State,” Wilk tweeted
“The status quo has failed.”
Andrea Suarez tries to talk homeless man, 24, about injecting methamphetamine in Seattle, Washington
A man brings beer stolen from a store to sell at a homeless camp in Seattle, Washington
Homeless people are seen outside a bank near Union Square, Manhattan, New York