U.S. Homelessness Is Down, But Not in New York

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A homeless man sleeps under an American Flag blanket on a park bench on September 10, 2013 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. As of June 2013, there were an all-time record of 50,900 homeless people, including 12,100 homeless families with 21,300 homeless children homeless in New York City.
Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty

In its annual one-night count of the nation's homeless back in January, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found a four-percent reduction from last year, it announced Thursday. The tally came to 610,000 nationwide, down from 633,782 in January 2012. But it's not good news all over. Here in New York, they found a thirteen-percent increase, for a total of 64,060 people living in shelters and on the street. And in Los Angeles, the homeless population jumped 27 percent, to 53,798. Unsurprisingly, high rents corresponded directly to spikes in homelessness. But perhaps the most startling figure comes not from the homeless count at all. Per the New York Times: "The group of very poor renters who pay more than half their income in rent and are struggling to hold onto their homes has grown by 43 percent nationwide since 2007, housing officials said."