The Unprecedented Surge in Homelessness: America’s Hidden Crisis

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While the fortunate few at the very top seem untouched, the economic landscape for everyone else has turned harsh. Today, a vast majority of Americans find themselves with less financial stability compared to pre-pandemic times. Steep inflation rates are relentlessly eroding our standard of living. We’re witnessing the onset of what could be labeled as “the most significant real estate correction” in our nation’s history. Shockingly, one in every five children in the United States doesn’t have enough food to eat. With each passing day, more individuals from the middle class are slipping into poverty, while those already struggling find themselves evicted onto the streets.

According to the Wall Street JOurnal, recent figures indicate a record-breaking surge in homelessness in the United States …

The count of homeless individuals in the US has skyrocketed to an all-time high, exceeding 653,000 people in the early months of this year. This surge is the result of multiple intersecting factors: soaring housing expenses, a severe shortage of affordable housing units, the ongoing opioid crisis, and the expiration of pandemic-related aid that had been helping individuals stay housed, as per federal data released recently.

In addtion to the record high of homeless individuals, the rate at which peaple are falling into homelessness is also at an unprecedented pace …

Homelessness has surged by over 12% this year, with a staggering 653,104 individuals experiencing homelessness. These numbers represent the most significant spike and the largest population of unhoused individuals since federal tracking began in 2007, as reported by the US Department of Urban Planning and Development. Last year’s data showed 582,462 people experiencing homelessness.

We’ve never encountered such a dramatic increase in homelessness before.

Reports indicate that prior to these new figures, “the previous largest increase was a spike of 2.7 percent recorded in 2019.”

Consider this for a moment– even during the depths of the “Great Recession,” homelessness didn’t surge like this.

Effectively, it’s as if floodgates have burst open, unleashing an immense wave of homelessness.

Regrettably, certain demographics bear a heavier burden …

Though Black people comprise 13% of the US population in 2023, they represent 21% of the population living in poverty, 37% of all homeless individuals, and 50% of homeless people within families with children. The Asian and Asian American community has seen a staggering 40% increase in homelessness from 2022, totaling 11,574. Meanwhile, Hispanic and Latino individuals witnessed a numerical rise of 28% from 2022, reaching 179,336 in 2023.

And remember, these are the individuals counted.

How many more homeless Americans remain unaccounted for or deliberately evade detection?

Undoubtedly, many are aware of the homelessness crisis in America without needing a reminder. It’s visible just by stepping outside one’s door.

In San Francisco, residents navigate what’s called ‘The Poopie Dance’ to avoid human waste on the streets, a grim testament to the reality of the growing homeless population using the city as an open-air toilet.

Why is this happening?

The crisis is fueled by numerous factors, but one major contributor is the unprecedented unaffordability of housing in the US …

High housing costs continue to strain the finances of the most impoverished Americans. Recent HUD data shows an increasing number of people in the US burdened by rent, spending over 30%, sometimes over 50%, of their income on rent.

Unfortunately, affordability is a challenge across the board.

Consider the price of a new Ford F-150 these days …

The 2024 F-150 XLT, in its basic configuration, carries an MSRP of $47,620 before additional charges, reaching a total of $49,615 with “destination and delivery charges.” The average transaction price for new vehicles stands at around $46,000, according to J.D. Power. A fully equipped high-end F-series 4×4 Crew Cab can surpass $100,000.

This places a new truck out of reach for most Americans. In fact, a ‘middle-class lifestyle’ has become an unattainable dream for many.

While official government figures claim we aren’t in a recession, the sentiment among most is that we’re already deep in one …

A Bankrate survey reveals that 59% of US adults perceive the economy to be in a recession, defined by two consecutive quarters of negative growth. Irrespective of income, households feel the strain similarly. Sixty percent of respondents from the lowest-income households, earning under $50,000 annually, sense the economy’s recessionary impact. Even among higher-income households earning over $100,000 annually, 61% share this sentiment.

I wish I could forecast an economic upturn in 2024 and beyond, but the reality is grimmer …

The US economy appears to be plunging into an abyss, promising more pain and hardships ahead.

So, if you have a warm home to retreat to tonight, be grateful, for countless others aren’t as fortunate.

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