PHOENIX - There are some shocking new statistics about America's growing homeless population. New data suggests homelessness in the U.S. is now at its highest reported levels, and Arizona is near the top of that list.
According to a new report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), some 653,000 Americans are currently experiencing homelessness. That's the most since the country began tracking the problem back in 2007. But in the years following the pandemic, the situation has become considerably worse. That's because much of the emergency rental assistance has run out, stimulus checks have stopped, and the eviction moratorium has ended.
But according to the report, one of the biggest contributors has been the rising cost of rent. Last year alone, rents rose by more than twice the rate of recent years, and it's hurting older Americans the most. Nearly a quarter of those unsheltered are over the age of 54.
Here in Arizona, we saw a 29% increase in homelessness since 2020 to just over 14,000 people – more than half of those are not in a shelter.
One bright spot in the report was Arizona saw the largest decrease in young people out on the streets – a drop of nearly 15% since last year.