The homelessness rate increases faster in the least affordable rental markets. While the homeless population has declined nationally, there are still areas across the country experiencing crisis levels.
New Zillow research shows that an estimated 2,587 people were homeless in Nashville in 2017. That’s about 250 more than officially counted by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Data from Zillow and researchers at the University of New Hampshire, Boston University School of Social Work and the University of Pennsylvania, shows that the homelessness rate accelerates much more quickly when the rent burden rises above 32 percent of the local median income.
In Nashville, the current rent takes up 35 percent of the median income. If it increases by 2 percentage points, the number of people forced into homelessness will actually fall by 8 people. If the rent burden increases by 5 percentage points, the number of people forced into homelessness will fall by 15 people.
The number of homeless people across the country was estimated to be 661,000 in 2017.
Nationwide, a renter earning the median U.S. income and looking to rent the median-priced apartment should expect to spend about 28 percent of their income on rent, which is up from historic norms.
But according to the article, across the country, the rent burden already exceeds the 32 percent threshold in 100 of the 386 areas included in this analysis.
Los Angeles, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle have all declared a homelessness “state of emergency.”
Conversely, a separate cluster, which includes areas like Pittsburgh and Cook County, Illinois, is characterized by a low homelessness rate, affordable housing, and the lowest rates of extreme property.