Thursday, March 20, 2008

An unprecedented number of homeless people

Alex Clay sits on his mattress at a homeless camp under the I-10 overpass in New Orleans. He lost his home in the Lower Ninth Ward to Hurricane Katrina.

Photo by USA Today

The homeless population of New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina has reached unprecedented levels for a U.S. city: one in 25 residents.

An estimated 12,000 homeless accounts for 4% of New Orleans' estimated population of 302,000, says the homeless advocacy group UNITY of Greater New Orleans. That's nearly double the pre-Katrina homeless count.

And it's more than four times the rate of most U.S. cities, which have homeless populations of under 1%, said Michael Stoops, executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless. Atlanta (1.4%) and Washington (0.95%) have the next highest rates.

In 2005, a USA Today survey of 460 localities showed one in 400 Americans on average were homeless.

Read the USA Today report here.

If I'm doing the math right (and that's always a question), the homeless rate in the Orlando metro area is about 0.5%.


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