Homelessness Is On the Rise But These Cities Found This Solution

By: Lauren | Published: Feb 22, 2024

Homelessness has been rising in the United States for several years. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, 653,100 people are currently experiencing homelessness throughout the country, and that number is still growing. 

Specifically, metropolitan cities such as Philadelphia, New York, and Chicago are seeing larger numbers than anywhere else, but fortunately, they’ve had success with several solutions to the ever-growing problem.

Homelessness Statistics in America

The National Low Income Housing Coalition released its collected data regarding homelessness in America for 2023. 

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Aerial view of a homeless encampment about to be removed by authorities

Source: @KTVU Fox 2/YouTube

They found that on an average night, there were approximately 653,100 experiencing homelessness, which is a 12% increase from the year before. 

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New York City May Have Seen the Highest Increase in Homelessness

According to the Coalition For The Homeless, there were 92,824 people experiencing homelessness in New York City in November 2023, which they report is the highest percentage of residents since the Great Depression. 

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Dozens of people experiencing homelessness in New York City

Source: Reddit

Sadly, the number of homeless adults in NYC is 106% higher than it was 10 years ago, and the city has struggled to find ways to care for and home such a large number of people in need. 

New York’s Plan to Combat Homelessness

Most of New York’s homeless population live in temporary shelters or transitional housing. However, the city has decided that it wants and needs to focus on creating permanent housing for the unhoused. 

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Homeless encampment in Chicago, Illinois

Source: Reddit

First and foremost, the government plans to take action to make housing more affordable, as well as stop illegal evictions. They also plan to move tens of thousands of people from hotels and emergency shelters to subsidized apartments in their neighborhoods.

Philadelphia’s Plan to Decrease the Number of People Living Without a Home

Philadelphia saw at least 582,500 people experience homelessness in 2022, and there were even more in 2023. 

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Sign reads “Housing Now” at a homeless protest encampment occupies Von Colln Field in Philadelphia

Source: @CBS Philadelphia/YouTube

Project Home, a charity organization from Philly, explained that 60% of the homeless population stays in emergency shelters and transitional housing while 40% sleep on the street. 

Helping Those Experiencing Homelessness in Philadelphia

Like New York City, the local government in Philadelphia has taken concrete steps to try to at least alleviate the ever-growing problem of homelessness in their city.

Illustration of a housing development called the Old First House in Philadelphia being built to house the chronically homeless

Source: OldFirstUCC.org

On November 20, 2023, they released a statement that announced their plan to create 34 permanent residencies for chronically homeless people, and they hope that this is just the first of many similar projects.

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Stopping Homelessness in Its Tracks

Plans for permanent, affordable, and subsidized housing in cities such as New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia have certainly proven successful. However, many experts agree that much more needs to be done to help curtail the constant increase in homelessness around the country. 

Man experiencing homelessness smiles at the camera by the side of the highway

Source: iStock

Essentially, instead of finding housing for people once they’re already without a home, the idea is to stop the problem ahead of time.

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Many of Those Experiencing Homelessness Are in Bad Health

Although data is hard to collect, The Homeless Hub has estimated that 30-40% of people experiencing homelessness are struggling with a mental wellness issue. 

Person sleeping on the street with a sign that reads “Homeless & Hungry”

Source: Depositphotos

As well, Addiction Help reported that roughly 38% of the homeless population suffer from alcohol addiction, and 26% abuse drugs regularly. Not to mention the physical ailments they suffer from without proper nutrition, hydration, and protection from the elements. 

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The Health Care System Needs to Step It Up

Therefore, many experts in the field are arguing that the best possible way to combat the increasing population of homeless in America is to make serious changes to the health care system. 

Veterans experiencing homelessness receive medical treatment in Georgia

Source: Wikipedia

Those with addiction and mental wellness concerns need help, with or without insurance. They need to be seen by physicians and offered the appropriate medicine for their symptoms. There also needs to be more facilities for those who cannot care for themselves and can’t afford private care.

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Illegal Evictions Need to Stop Right Away

It’s also important to understand that thousands upon thousands of people experiencing homelessness in America are not sick. Many of them were actually removed illegally from their homes and simply didn’t have the savings to move into a new place.

Man hanging an eviction notice sign on a wooden door

Source: Depositphotos

The Community Legal Services and the Housing Initiative at Penn reported that 20,000 people were illegally evicted from their homes in Philadelphia in 2022. This happens when landlords want to make more from their buildings by selling them to developers, and it significantly increases the number of homeless throughout the city.

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Helping Make Sure Convicts Don’t End Up on the Streets

Additionally, research suggests that up to 15% of convicts released from prison go on to experience homelessness. And they are 10% more likely to end up homeless compared to those who were never incarcerated. 

Prison guard is using a key to unlock a prisoner’s handcuffs

Source: iStock

Therefore, activists are asking for policy changes regarding rental agreements to allow convicts to have a better chance to find and keep a roof over their heads. 

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Homelessness Is Not a Crime

With the significant increase of Americans experiencing homelessness over the the past decade, it seems that the government is finally realizing that homelessness is not a crime; it’s an epidemic.

Handmade sign in a park that reads “Homelessness Is Not a Crime, NO P.S.P.O”

Source: @HomelesscampagainstthePSPO/Facebook

And there is significant research that shows there are several ways governments and organizations can help the homeless find stability, affordable housing, and the health care they need to succeed.

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