May 23, 2024
May 23, 2024
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California homeless make up nearly one-third of US homeless population, new report shows

California homeless make up nearly one-third of US homeless population, new report shows

A recent report has highlighted that California is home to almost a third of the nation’s homeless population. The Benioff Homelessness and Housing Initiative (BHHI) at the University of California, San Francisco conducted a comprehensive study on homelessness in California, which is considered the most representative study since the 1990s. The research focused on understanding the root causes and impacts of homelessness in the state.

The study involved gathering data from nearly 3,200 questionnaires and conducting 365 in-depth interviews with homeless adults across eight regions in California. One of the key findings was that the majority of participants cited unaffordable housing as a primary reason for their homelessness. The study revealed that before becoming homeless, the median monthly household income of the participants was $960, and many believed that rental subsidies or financial assistance could have prevented their situation.

Challenges Faced by the Homeless Population

The study also shed light on the demographic trends within the homeless population in California. It showed that the homeless demographic is aging, with 47% of individuals being 50 years or older. Additionally, there is an overrepresentation of Latino, Black, and Native American individuals, accounting for 35%, 26%, and 12% respectively.

Furthermore, the research revealed that a significant portion of the homeless population faced challenges such as mental health issues, with two-thirds reporting such concerns. Additionally, 72% of participants disclosed experiencing physical violence at some point in their lives. Despite these difficulties, nearly half of the individuals surveyed were actively seeking employment.

Policy Recommendations and State Initiatives

Based on the findings, the BHHI put forth six policy recommendations to address homelessness in California. These recommendations include enhancing access to affordable housing for extremely low-income households, expanding targeted homelessness prevention programs, and providing more support for mental and behavioral health services for the homeless population.

It is crucial to note that homelessness is a growing issue not only in California but across the United States. Major cities like Chicago, Miami, Boston, and Phoenix have all reported increases in their homeless populations. Despite efforts to combat the crisis, progress has been slow. California Governor Gavin Newsom acknowledged the lack of significant progress in addressing the state’s homeless crisis, attributing it to high housing costs and resistance from local communities.

California Homeless Make Up Nearly One-Third of US Homeless Population

According to a new report, California has emerged as a hotspot for homelessness in the United States, with nearly one-third of the country’s homeless population residing in the state. The report sheds light on the growing crisis of homelessness in California and its disproportionate impact on the state’s residents. Let’s delve deeper into this issue and explore its implications.

The Scope of Homelessness in California

Homelessness has long been a pressing issue in California, driven by a combination of factors such as high housing costs, income inequality, and lack of affordable housing options. The latest report indicates that California is home to approximately one-third of the total homeless population in the United States, highlighting the severity of the crisis within the state.

Key Findings from the Report

  • California accounts for 28% of the total homeless population in the United States.
  • Los Angeles County alone has the largest concentration of homeless individuals in the country.
  • The number of unsheltered homeless individuals in California has been steadily increasing in recent years.
  • Women, children, and veterans are particularly vulnerable to homelessness in California.

Factors Contributing to Homelessness in California

Several factors contribute to the high prevalence of homelessness in California, including:

  • High housing costs that outpace wage growth, making it difficult for low-income individuals to afford housing.
  • Lack of affordable housing options, especially in urban areas where demand is high.
  • Mental health issues, substance abuse, and trauma that often go untreated due to limited access to healthcare services.
  • Economic disparities and systemic inequality that disproportionately affect marginalized communities.

Impact on Communities and Solutions

The surge in homelessness in California has far-reaching implications for both individuals experiencing homelessness and the broader community. Homelessness can strain public resources, impact public health, and contribute to social unrest. Addressing homelessness requires a multi-faceted approach that includes:

  • Expanding access to affordable housing through subsidized housing programs and rent control policies.
  • Increasing funding for mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and supportive services for homeless individuals.
  • Implementing targeted outreach and intervention programs for at-risk populations, such as veterans and families.
  • Fostering community collaborations and partnerships to create sustainable solutions for homelessness.


The prevalence of homelessness in California underscores the urgent need for comprehensive and compassionate solutions to address this crisis. By raising awareness, advocating for policy changes, and investing in supportive services, we can work towards ending homelessness and building a more equitable society for all.



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