(The Center Square) — While Georgia saw its homeless population decrease by 45.6% between 2007 and 2022, it has increased by 4.4% since 2020.
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development numbers revealed that 9.9 in every 10,000 people in Georgia were experiencing homelessness in 2022.
“Georgia experienced a two percent increase in homelessness from 2019 to 2021, with more than 10,600 currently unhoused,” Corie Wagner, senior editor of industry research for Security.org, told The Center Square by email. “Seventeen percent of those are under age 18, which shows there’s an opportunity for the state to help youth from going down the path of chronic homelessness.
“Since the pandemic’s start, governments, nonprofits, and other groups have made progress in reducing youth homelessness nationally, and the number of unaccompanied youths experiencing homelessness in America decreased by 12 percent between 2020 and 2022,” Wagner added. “So, we would like to see a brighter future for Georgia’s youth, in particular. Contributing factors, as in all states, could include local financial hardship, housing markets, climate conditions, and available social resources.”
According to HUD, the state’s homeless population was 7,905 in 2022, including 2,784 people in families with children and 479 unaccompanied homeless youth. The numbers also indicate 664 veterans and 1,354 chronically homeless people.
“As with many other issues facing our country, these data show that we’ve made some progress as a society, but there is a lot of work left to be done to eradicate homelessness,” Wagner said.
“The total number of people experiencing homelessness today is lower than a decade ago, which is positive, but the population has been growing steadily since 2014,” Wagner added. “This is due to several complex factors, including the lasting devastation of the Covid-19 pandemic, historic inflation levels, and a lack of affordable housing in several regions.”
By T.A. DeFeo | The Center Square contributor