Homelessness across the country could increase 45%.

Pedestrians walk to the edge of the sidewalk to avoid treading on people in tents and sleeping bags in the Tenderloin area of ​​San Francisco.

AP photo / Ben Margot

  • According to a new study by an economics professor at Columbia University, homelessness in the US could rise by 45% due to unemployment due to the coronavirus pandemic.

  • More than 800,000 people may be homeless by summer.

  • The US unemployment rate reached 14.7%, which has not been seen since the Great Depression.

  • You can find more stories on the Insider homepage.

According to a new study by an economics professor from Columbia University, homelessness in the US could increase by up to 45% by the end of this year.

Millions of Americans have applied for unemployment as many companies across the country have closed due to home orders and the closure of nonessential companies to limit the spread of the new corona virus.

The report by Dan O’Flaherty, an expert on the economy of homelessness, “predicts an increase in homelessness this year of 40-45% compared to January 2019.”

This means that around 250,000 people will be without housing “if homelessness follows unemployment as it did at the beginning of this century,” according to the model used for this study.

According to the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, 568,000 people were homeless in January 2019. According to the study, more than 800,000 people could be homeless by summer.

Some have already had to live in their cars or on the street because they lost their jobs during the pandemic. A couple in Los Angeles previously told Business Insider that at the start of the pandemic, they lost their part-time job as a security guard in a restaurant and were forced to live in their car.

The study found that the US unemployment rate reached 14.7%, which has not happened since the Great Depression. The rate has not yet peaked, and California alone has already predicted that the unemployment rate could peak at 24.5%.

“This is unprecedented,” said O’Flaherty, according to the study. “No one who lives has seen unemployment rise by 10% in a month.”

According to the Los Angeles Times, California, which is home to a quarter of the country’s homeless, homelessness would likely “increase less than nationwide”.

The study estimates that the state would see a 20% increase from 150,000 to 180,000 people. This is because the study mainly looked at a steady rise in unemployment in the US, so countries with fewer homeless people would likely see a larger increase.

Over 36 million Americans have applied for unemployment in the past two months.

According to the LA Times, some economists say the economic toll of the pandemic is likely to only get worse.

Fed chairman Jerome Powell said on Wednesday, citing a separate poll by the Fed: “Among the people who worked in February, nearly 40% of those in households had earnings below $ 40,000 a year , lost a job in March. ”

“This reversal of economic wealth has created a level of pain that is difficult to put into words because life is troubled by the great uncertainty about the future,” added Powell.

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