DATA: California is Home to Half of US Homeless Population


California: recently plagued by a slew of social problems ranging from rampant drug use, homelessness, illegal immigration, public defecation, skyrocketing costs of living, violent crime, medieval diseases and, literally, plague.

Homelessness, however, has drawn plenty of international attention because of the abject conditions of the state’s homeless population–where all forms of disease and unsanitary conditions are a constant struggle.

Now California has become something of a homeless destination, as it is home to 47% of America’s homeless population, according to a new report.

Market Watch reports:

All told, 47% of all unsheltered homeless people nationwide — meaning those who sleep in areas not meant for habitation, such as sidewalks, parks, cars and abandoned buildings, rather than in shelters — live in the Golden State, according to a new report on homelessness from the White House Council of Economic Advisers. Unsheltered homeless people represent just over a third (35%) of the overall homeless population nationwide.

At the city level, four of the five cities with the highest rate of unsheltered homelessness are in California: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Santa Rosa and San Jose. Seattle joins the California municipalities in the top five.

President Trump may look to plan a federal intervention on a homeless situation which has begun to reach crisis levels.

Some solutions the Trump Administration has entertained includes: moving homeless people into facilities administered by the federal government and razing encampments, according to The Washington Post.

City Lab states:

The White House appears to be targeting people living in Los Angeles’s downtown Skid Row area, where much of the city’s soaring unhoused population is concentrated. The homelessness rate in the city of Los Angeles spiked 16 percent this year, according to the annual point-in-time count. Officials with the city could not comment on any particular plans or discussions underway.

“Our office learned very recently of the Administration’s plans to visit L.A., to learn more about our strategies for responding to the homelessness crisis,” Alex Comisar, deputy communications director for Mayor Garcetti, said in an email. “We welcome them and look forward to showing them our work to confront this humanitarian emergency.”

Prohibitively expensive housing has been apportioned a large chunk of the blame, with officials seeking to make housing more affordable for those in need.

“The decline in federal resources for affordable housing has been significant, and cities can’t do it alone,” San Francisco mayor, Mayor London Breed, wrote in an emailed statement. “But simply cracking down on homelessness without providing the housing that people need is not a real solution and will likely only make the situation worse.”

City Lab also reports that despite making up 9% of LA’s population, black residents make up 40% of the homeless population. Latinx Californians make up a similar percentage of the homeless population.