The population of homeless individuals and families in the US has been on a downward trend, which is a plus for the country. However, some states are still struggling with housing their respective populations. The rate of homelessness varies significantly from one state to another. The highest levels have been reported in cities in Hawaii, California, and New York. On the other hand, the lowest rates of reported homelessness are being experienced in Kansas, Indiana, and Mississippi.
Despite a 2011 report by the US Census Bureau that Mississippi had among the highest poverty rates in the country at 22.6%, this state has among the lowest populations of documented homeless people. The homeless count per capita for Mississippi came in at 81 per 100,000 people in 2013. This population of homeless people has been on a consistent decline each year since 2009. According to the Annual Homeless Assessment Report that was presented to Congress in 2016, the total number of homeless people in Mississippi stood at 1,738. This number constitutes less than 1% of the total homeless population in the entire country and represents a decrease of 37% from statistics for the year 2010.
Although the state of Mississippi has among the lowest rates of homelessness in the country, it still ranks highly in the rate of homeless veterans who are unsheltered. Currently, the state ranks second in this regard with less than 40% of homeless veterans receiving shelter. It also ranks fourth highest in respect to unsheltered homeless people living with a disability with more than 84% of these individuals lacking proper shelter facilities. The poverty levels in Mississippi have been cited as among the factors accounting for the lower rates of homelessness in the state’s largest cities. The cost of housing and its demand in Mississippi is significantly lower than that of wealthier states that have higher populations.
Indiana has the second-lowest population of homeless individuals. There has been a progressive decline in the size of this population with a 2017 report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) stating that the population has dropped by at least 6.2% from the previous year. This decline also indicates a drop of about 16% from 2010 figures. During an exercise conducted in 2017, volunteers counted roughly 600 homeless veterans which is a drop of 20% compared to the 750 veterans counted in 2010.
Kansas’ homeless population was on a steady increase until the year 2015. The years between 2007 and 2015 saw a staggering increase of this population by more than 23%. Within the same duration, the levels of homelessness across the country had dropped by 13%. Currently, Kansas holds less than 0.5% of the total homeless population in the US ranking among the bottom three states with fewest homeless people. Similar to Indiana, the rate of homelessness in Kansas is estimated to be at 94 people for every 100,000 people.