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How the homeless are changing the American economy

The pandemic threatens to negate all the already small achievements of the United States in the fight against homelessness — the American National Alliance to End Homelessness warns about this in a recent report.

In total, in the United States in 2019, at least once a year, 567.7 thousand people (0.17% of the country's population) had to spend the night on the street. Homelessness statistics have been conducted since 2007, and since then, the total number in the United States has decreased by 12%, but since 2017 it has begun to rise again, and this year may make thousands more homeless.

This is a problem not only from an ethical and social point of view (in the United States, most often people with disabilities and people with various diseases, including mental ones) become homeless. For the financial sector, it is important that the factor of homelessness undermines the foundation of the income base of American cities and states, namely the property tax. First of all, the budgets of New York and Los Angeles are under threat, and they are not feeling very well that way.

Shelters in the east, self-take in the west

Over the past decade, the concentration of homeless people in the United States has become extremely uneven. In 30 states, the number has decreased by a third or more, but in 14 other homeless people have only increased. The leader in the number of homeless people in California, in second place, is the state of New York (although the main number of homeless people is concentrated, of course, in the city of the same name). The most significant influx in the most attractive cities on both coasts — New York and Los Angeles. Both cities are trying to solve the problem of the homeless, each in their own way.

New York has followed the path of building shelters for the homeless, with a focus on permanent housing in recent years. Mayor Bill de Blasio's plan to open 90 permanent homeless shelters in neighborhoods across the city was unveiled in 2017, and since then, the mayor's office has been in ongoing disputes with residents of houses in the vicinity of which such shelters are planned. The City's Independent Budget Office even conducted a study to find out if the presence of such shelters affects the cost of housing, as New Yorkers fear. It turns out that it does: An apartment or house located within 500 feet of homeless shelters sells for about 6.5-7% less than housing without such a neighborhood. Sometimes the price difference can be up to 17%.

Nevertheless, thanks to the active construction of shelters, only 5% of the homeless in New York now live on the streets, as well as in tents, cars, etc., while in Los Angeles, more than 80% of the homeless spend the night outside of shelters.

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