'Bidenomics' Strikes Again? Homelessness Hits Record-High In US
Published: Dec 21, 2023 03:06 PM
As he runs for reelection, US President Joe Biden often touts his “Bidenomics” as being responsible for inflation inching down from four-decade highs, as well as job and wage growth. However, Americans, many of whom are struggling, aren’t interested in hearing bland figures and stats if they can’t afford food.

Amid the cost of living crisis in the US, homelessness has surged to a new alarming level, according to a new "point-in-time" federal survey.

Over 650,000 people were "unhoused" on a single night in January this year, which is a 12% rise from 2022, as per a US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) report. This is the highest number since the survey was launched in 2007. Furthermore, there has been a dramatic 25% surge in the number of people who became homeless for the first time between the federal fiscal years 2021- 2022, HUD noted. There has also been a 16% rise in family homelessness.

African Americans accounted for 37% of the overall homelessness, it was revealed, while the largest jump in unhoused was among Hispanics.

"Homelessness is solvable and should not exist in the United States. This data underscores the urgent need for support for proven solutions and strategies that help people quickly exit homelessness and that prevent homelessness in the first place," HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge said in a statement.

A plethora of reasons were given for the homelessness crisis. Firstly, the end of COVID-19 pandemic programs and benefits designed to help individuals and businesses recover. Passed by US Congress in 2020-2021, the various stimulus checks, expanded child tax credit, the eviction moratorium, etc. have been gradually shut down, while many people have come to rely on them.

Furthermore, rental costs have surged, the report stated. Renters have been forced to contend with record-high cost burdens, as per the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies. The latter revealed that 9 out of 10 low-income households were forced to spend over 30% of their income on housing in 2021. 

Overall, it is hard to find an aspect of the household budget that has not felt the cost of living squeeze, with prices of groceries, electricity, gas, housing and borrowing all going up. The backfiring sanctions on Russia over Ukraine have also taken their toll, fueling the energy crisis.

It is an easy guess that the migrant crisis triggered by the Biden administration's border policies has also fueled the homelessness problem. As Joe Biden battles with lawmakers skeptical of pouring billions more in aid into the Ukraine sinkhole, the Republicans have been demanding that POTUS enact "transformative changes" to border security laws.

The homelessness figures come as US President Joe Biden has repeatedly touted the success of his "Bidenomics," despite rampant inflation and soaring interest rates. The POTUS has been claiming that Bidenomics works, with Democrats placing the policy at the center of their case for another four years in the White House. However, economists have been warning that Joe Biden is steering his country into a recession. A majority of Americans, irrespective of race, gender, age, education, income, and party affiliation currently have an unfavorable view of the US economy under President Joe Biden, as polling in November revealed. Eight in 10 of the voters polled by The New York Times and Siena College assessed the current plight of their country’s economy as fair or poor.

Furthermore, despite being the wealthiest country in the world by net worth (according to 2022 data), the United States continues to struggle with hunger. A report from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) found more than 44 million Americans facing hunger last year, including one in five children. Due to inflation and skyrocketing food and grocery prices, many people are struggling to pay for basic necessities, and face mounting food insecurity. Donations to food banks have been on a decline, attributed to the challenging financial situation faced by many Americans.