Homelessness Crisis

December 23, 2022 • Volume 32, Issue 44
Can governments move people off the streets and into housing?
By Alan Greenblatt


The nation's perennial problem of homelessness has worsened in many cities now that COVID-19 pandemic-era protections against eviction have ended. Rents and housing costs have continued their decades-long rise. Despite billions of dollars spent moving people into housing in recent decades, the number of unsheltered individuals continues to rise — both in major cities and rural America. Given the issue's visibility, many politicians support crackdowns, by calling on police to break up encampments or banning camping in public spaces. Conservatives are skeptical about an approach that provides housing for people without requiring them to work or get job training or addiction treatment. With Congress divided on the issue, states and cities are scrambling to find funds for solutions. Voters have supported such measures, but many often resist the construction of shelters or low-cost housing in their neighborhoods. Nevertheless, the public demands meaningful solutions that, so far, have remained elusive.

Photo of homeless man cooling off in Portland, Oregon, on August 13, 2021. (Getty Images/Nathan Howard)
A homeless man tries to cool off near a Portland, Ore., misting station during an extreme heat wave in August 2021. As the number of unhoused Americans continues to rise and Congress remains divided on solutions, states and cities struggle to provide more affordable housing and other remedies. (Getty Images/Nathan Howard)
ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Dec. 23, 2022  Homelessness Crisis
Apr. 02, 2021  Evictions and COVID-19
Mar. 02, 2018  Affordable Housing Shortage
Nov. 06, 2015  Housing Discrimination
Feb. 20, 2015  Gentrification
Apr. 05, 2013  Homeless Students
Dec. 14, 2012  Future of Homeownership
Dec. 18, 2009  Housing the Homeless
Nov. 02, 2007  Mortgage Crisis Updated
Feb. 09, 2001  Affordable Housing
Jan. 06, 1989  Affordable Housing: Is There Enough?
Oct. 30, 1981  Creative Home Financing
Nov. 07, 1980  Housing the Poor
Dec. 21, 1979  Rental Housing Shortage
Nov. 24, 1978  Housing Restoration and Displacement
Apr. 22, 1977  Housing Outlook
Sep. 26, 1973  Housing Credit Crunch
Aug. 06, 1969  Communal Living
Jul. 09, 1969  Private Housing Squeeze
Mar. 04, 1966  Housing for the Poor
Apr. 10, 1963  Changing Housing Climate
Sep. 26, 1956  Prefabricated Housing
Sep. 02, 1949  Cooperative Housing
May 14, 1947  Liquidation of Rent Controls
Dec. 17, 1946  National Housing Emergency, 1946-1947
Mar. 05, 1946  New Types of Housing
Oct. 08, 1941  Rent Control
Aug. 02, 1938  The Future of Home Ownership
Sep. 05, 1934  Building Costs and Home Renovation
Nov. 20, 1933  Federal Home Loans and Housing
Nov. 17, 1931  Housing and Home Ownership
Congress Actions
Data and Statistics
Fair Housing and Housing for Special Groups
Federal Courts
General Employment and Labor
Humanitarian Assistance
Infectious Diseases
Low Income and Public Housing
Party Politics
Party Politics
People with Disabilities
Powers and History of the Presidency
Protest Movements
Real Estate
Regional Planning and Urbanization
Rental Housing
Unemployment and Employment Programs
Welfare and Welfare Reform
Work and the Family