California's homeless population went up 14 percent, to 134,278 - the most by far of any state, and representing 31 percent of all the homeless people in the USA, according to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. While overall homelessness increased by 0.7% nationally since 2016, since 2010 there was a decline of 13.1%.
Of the latest count, 193,000 people had no access to nightly shelter and instead they were staying in vehicles, tents, the streets and other places defined as uninhabitable.
He said San Francisco's more encouraging count could be attributed to the city's consolidation of efforts on supportive housing and services over the past year, through the creation of the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing.
New federal statistics show U.S. homelessness rose slightly this year - driven by a 4 percent jump in New York City and similar increases in Los Angeles and other West Coast cities. The creep is due in part to significant increases in big metro areas in California, New York and Texas.
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The report comes as the homelessness population is on the rise on the West Coast. "With rents rising faster than incomes, we need to bring everybody to the table to produce more affordable housing and ease the pressure that is forcing too many of our neighbors into our shelters and onto our streets".
The increase has led city homeless czar Steven Banks to use hotels, at an average per-family cost of $6,570 a month. "We're going to have to really concentrate on, how do we answer the problem of affordable housing?" Nationwide, the homeless population grew about 1 percent.
One of the major consequences of the homeless explosion in the West Coast is a deadly hepatitis A outbreak that prompted California officials to declare a state of emergency two months ago.
The unsheltered, chronically homeless more than doubled from 155 to 341 in one year and unsheltered homeless individuals rose 31 percent.
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"The National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty echoes these concerns in a report, also released today, "Don't Count On It: How the HUD Point-In-Time Count Underestimates the Homelessness Crisis in America".
Los Angeles accounted for 60 percent of this increase.
Those places that saw a dwindling homelessness included Atlanta, Philadelphia, Miami, the Denver area and Hawaii.
- The number of families with children experiencing homelessness in 2017 ( 3,904 ), decreased by 15.2 percent ( or 700 persons ) since 2016 and decreased by 42.8 percent ( 2,923 ) since 2010.
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Those who work regularly with the homeless said it is certainly an undercount, although many advocates and officials argued that the result correctly identifies trend lines.