Homeless Person

Featured by Smart Cities Dive. 

In 2017, homelessness increased for the first time in seven years, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) annual report to Congress. Although the increase is less than 1%, the report points out that nearly the entire increase occurred because of the 12% bump in the number of unsheltered homeless individuals in the 50 largest U.S. cities.

All of this comes as cities and organizations are testing innovative and sometimes high-tech methods to curb the problem. So where are cities missing the mark?

The HUD report analyzed demographic data for people experiencing homelessness, and found that white people make up the largest homeless group, at 47%. Black individuals come in second, at nearly 41%, meaning they experience homelessness disproportionately to their overall presence in society, which the U.S. Census Bureau estimates at just over 13% of the total population.

These statistics underscore the importance of findings from a recent National League of Cities report; it cautions leaders that widening gaps between the rich and the poor, as well as among races, can cause divides that de-stabilize cities.