California drives U.S. homelessness increase

Tim O'Donnell

The Department of Housing and Urban Development released Friday its estimate of annual homelessness in the United States, concluding that the number of homeless people in the country increased 2.7 percent over the last year.

The jump is reportedly strongly tied to California's housing crisis, especially in Los Angeles and San Francisco. California alone experienced an estimated 16.4 percent increase in homelessness, despite the state's efforts to counter the issue.

HUD Secretary Ben Carson blamed welfare programs that fostered dependency and despair, per The New York Times, as well as policies that allow people to sleep in public spaces. Carson argued the laws discourage people from going "to the places that are actually designed to help them get out of that situation."

There were some positive strives elsewhere, however. Washington, D.C., and 29 other states reported declines in the number of homeless people, NBC News reports. Meanwhile, veteran homelessness dropped 2.1 percent, homeless families with children declined 4.8 percent, and homeless youth and children decreased 3.6 percent. Read more at The New York Times and NBC News.

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