After several years of decline, the homelessness rate in the United States climbed upward in 2018, marking the second consecutive year the number has increased, The Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.
The small 0.3 percent increase from last year comes as the economy is booming and unemployment is at its lowest point in decades.
The homelessness rate is included in an annual report given to Congress Monday conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
HUD Secretary Ben Carson called the rise in homelessness last year relatively muted, saying that for it “to be relatively flat is actually pretty good” given the rise in real estate prices.
Distinguishing between “sheltered” and “unsheltered” homeless populations, the report indicated that the former category saw a decrease while the latter saw an uptick.
Lack of affordable housing is a primary factor in the issue, according to advocates and just two cities share an outsized portion of homeless Americans:
Nearly one quarter of the country’s entire homeless population lives in New York City or Los Angeles as both cities grapple with increasing rents prices. Average rent in Los Angeles has increased 35 percent since 2012 and 20 percent in New York, according to the Journal.