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Critics Question ‘Housing First’ Approach as Homelessness Crisis Worsens

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Housing Policy + Finance

Critics Question ‘Housing First’ Approach as Homelessness Crisis Worsens

Over half a million Americans are unhoused despite increased funding from coast to coast


January 10, 2022
homelessness
Image: Stock.adobe.com

Nearly 600,000 Americans were left without housing in 2020 as a result of surging costs and a rise in unemployment during the COVID-19 pandemic, CNBC reports. Despite rising budgets to combat homelessness in New York City and California, the national crisis has improved by just 10% compared with 2007. Though a “housing first” strategy has provided foundational support for thousands of unhoused people across the U.S., critics suggest that the approach has not been largely successful at reducing homelessness as a whole.

In 2019, New York City spent a record-breaking $3 billion to support its homeless population. California is also expected to break its record, allocating $4.8 billion to the same issue over the next two years.

“Right now, we are trending in the wrong direction,” said Anthony Love, interim executive director at the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. “The state of homelessness is pretty tenuous, and there are some small increases that are taking place across the board.”

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