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The Top City with the Highest Homeless Population Per Capita in the US

In this article, we will be taking a look at the top city with the highest homeless population per capita in the US. If you wish to learn about more homeless cities, head straight to our detailed article on 25 Cities with the Highest Homeless Population Per Capita in the US.

The Rising Tide of Homelessness in the US: Causes, Impact, and Solutions

Approximately 649,535 people are homeless in the US, a 12.42% increase from 2022 and a 15.54% increase from 2019. The national rate of homelessness is approximately 19.4 people per 10,000. The top three states with the largest homeless populations are California, New York, and Florida. These states have a combined total of over 315,000 homeless individuals, which accounts for nearly half of the total homeless population in the US.

With approximately 181,399 homeless people, California has the highest number of homeless individuals in the country. The state's high cost of living, particularly in cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, contributes to its large homeless population. The median home value in California is $715,900 which makes it difficult for low-income individuals to afford housing. York has the second-highest number of homeless people, with around 103,200 individuals.  Florida has the third-largest homeless population, with about 30,756 individuals with a median home value of $354,100.


It is extremely difficult for low-income families and workers to locate affordable homes. The National Low Income Housing Coalition states that to maintain housing costs below 30% of income, a full-time worker in the US needs to make $21.25 per hour, sometimes known as the "housing wage," to afford a single-room residence. Too high rents and excessive living expenses push a lot of low-income families into homelessness.

Tennessee State University's Dr. Ken Chilton conducted research on how REITs affected the housing market. In low-income neighborhoods, REITs frequently take the role of landlords, raising rents to 50%–70% of inhabitants' wages and contributing to an increase in homelessness. On the other hand, some REITs are preventing homelessness by building affordable homes and generating money for assistance and shelters.

Major Players Catering to the Homeless People 

AvalonBay Communities, Inc. (NYSE:AVB) is a leading real estate investment trust (REIT) that has been actively involved in supporting the homeless and building strong communities through its philanthropic efforts. Since 2015, AvalonBay has been an American Red Cross Disaster Responder Partner, donating over $2 million to support the organization's important work. The partnership includes blood donations, volunteering, CPR training, and an annual Community Preparedness Week.

In Q1 2024, AvalonBay Communities, Inc. (NYSE:AVB) reported earnings per Share (EPS) of $1.22, surpassing the estimated $1.17. Their Same Store Residential Net Operating Income (NOI) increased by 3.7% year-over-year which was driven by a 4.2% rise in revenue, even though operating expenses increased by 5.2%. The Q1 report also highlights that they are focused on executing strategic initiatives, including operating model transformation to deliver an $80 million incremental annual NOI uplift.

Similarly, Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE:VNO) also helps the homeless. While the company is not directly involved in catering to the homeless, it has significantly contributed to the community through various initiatives and partnerships. Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE:VNO) has partnered with organizations like the New York City Economic Development Corporation to create mixed-use projects that include affordable housing units.

The company's involvement in developing the Penn District in Manhattan is expected to contribute $6.4 billion to the local economy over the next 30 years and create more than 1,300 jobs during the construction period and 400 permanent jobs. Vornado Realty Trust (NYSE:VNO) reported a first-quarter 2024 comparable FFO, as adjusted, of $0.55 per share compared to $0.60 per share in Q1 2023, a decrease of $0.05 per share. The company expects its 2024 comparable FFO to be down from 2023 due to higher projected net interest expense of about $0.30 per share and the impact of known vacancies at properties like 1290 Avenue of the Americas, 770 Broadway, and 280 Park Avenue, which is estimated at $0.25 to $0.30 per share.

The Top City with the Highest Homeless Population Per Capita in the US.
The Top City with the Highest Homeless Population Per Capita in the US.

Our Methodology 

We analyzed the 2022 report from the City Mayors Society to determine which 25 US cities have the largest per capita number of homeless people. We identified the top 25 cities after analyzing data for 32 cities with the greatest rates of homelessness per 100,000 inhabitants. The rankings are based on the percentage of homeless persons per 100,000 population in 2018 that changed between 2014 and 2018, and they are presented in ascending order.

The Top City with the Highest Homeless Population Per Capita in the US

1. Eugene, Oregon

Homeless People per 100,000 Residents: 432 

Eugene tops the list for being one of the cities with the highest homeless population per capita in the US with around 432 per 100,000 people being homeless. Around 44% (1,182) of the 2,690 homeless adults aged 25-64 in Eugene were experiencing chronic homelessness in January 2022. In total, 73% of homeless people in the Eugene area live unsheltered which is one of the highest rates in the country. Eugene had the second-highest number of people experiencing homelessness (2,880) among largely urban areas outside of major cities in the United States.


If you are curious to know which other cities in the US that have the largest homeless population per capita, head straight to our full free list on 25 Cities with the Highest Homeless Population Per Capita in the US.


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Disclosure. None: The 25 Cities with the Highest Homeless Population Per Capita in the US is originally published on Insider Monkey.