Pandemic, 600,000 homeless people on the street, 30 billion for individuals and families

In the United States the economy is growing, inoculated vaccines are growing but, for four years, the number of homeless people has also grown. In January 2020, the “homeless”, the homeless, were almost 600,000, an increase of 2% compared to the previous year.

The numbers, released by the Department for Housing and Urban Development, do not however reflect the dramatic reality caused by the pandemic which has only worsened the crisis of the “invisible”.

HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge called the numbers “devastating” and said America has “the moral responsibility to help the homeless, including many veterans and families, to get out of this situation.

Furthermore, more than 106,000 children were registered in the annual count, conducted in most communities across the nation. While the majority of homeless children are in shelters or transitional shelters, nearly 11,000 live completely outdoors.

As has been the case for years, 39% of the total, a disproportionate share of the total, they are African American (only 13% of the population) while 23% are Hispanic or Latino.

Wealthy California has the grim record of hosting the largest number of homeless people, around 161,000 in 2020 and, for the first time, homeless living on the streets is higher than those living in shelters (209,000 versus 199,000).

Increasing concern is the fact that many people have moved out into the streets worried about contracting COVID-19. The pandemic has been tough for everyone for many reasons. But it was even tougher for fragile people both economically and healthily. And concerns for the future are certainly not optimistic.

“I think we’re going to see an increase in homelessness,” said Sean Read, head of Friendship Place, a nonprofit dedicated to homeless people in Washington.

The homeless in fact, in this historical moment, are a social bomb with a delayed effect. Families who were unable to maintain their homes during the pandemic, with the help of government aid and moratoriums on evictions, could find themselves in total crisis in the coming months.

In the 1.9 trillion dollar “monster” package, however, there are funds dedicated to this emergency that could alleviate the crisis for the “homeless”. $ 5 billion was dedicated to the homeless, over $ 20 billion in emergency rental aid and $ 5 billion in new housing vouchers.

The measure also includes direct payments for families, and represents a great opportunity to finally remove many homeless people from the streets of America. And this challenge is also open.

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