Dec. 6 (UPI) — The number of people living on the street or in shelters increased for the first time since 2010, according to data released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development on Wednesday. But the biggest increases were seen in the country’s two largest cities.
HUD said there are approximately 553,742 homeless people in the United States, which is a 0.7 percent increase from 2016. The numbers were counted in January of this year.
Although homeless numbers increased in 2017 for the first time in seven years, the overall numbers are 13 percent lower than they were in 2010. And HUD Secretary Ben Carson said the overall increase is because of homelessness booms in Los Angeles and New York City.
“Where we’re not making great progress are in places like Los Angeles and New York City. These happen to be places where the rents are going up much faster than the incomes,” Carson told NPR.
According to HUD numbers, there are more than 55,000 homeless people in Los Angeles and more than 76,000 in New York City. In 2016, Los Angeles’ homeless population totaled 43,854. In New York City, numbers came out to just over 73,000.
The two cities have by far the largest numbers of homeless people in the country by city. Seattle comes in third with just under 11,643. But Seattle also had a big increase in homelessness since last year, when the city counted 10,730 people living on the streets or in shelters.
Although Seattle came in third, northern California’s Bay Area, which encompasses three different regions per HUD data, has far higher numbers.
The San Jose and Santa Clara region counted 7,394 homeless people; San Francisco counted 6,858; and Oakland counted 5,629.