Dec 15, 2023 - News

Federal data shows sharp rise in homelessness in Denver

A man picks up his belongings at the encampment in Denver in September 2023. Photo: Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

The number of people experiencing homelessness in metro Denver grew by 46% from 2022 to 2023, outpacing all major metro areas except for Chicago.

Why it matters: The increase is troubling and indicates the crisis is reaching potentially historic levels in metro Denver.

By the numbers: Denver ranked fifth among major metro areas with the most people experiencing homelessness, with 10,054. New York City topped the list with 88,025 people.

  • Families with children who experienced homelessness grew in metro Denver by a staggering 117% β€” the highest percentage growth in the country among major metros.

Of note: Migrants who arrived shortly before the point-in-time-count in January and stayed in shelters were included in the local figures.

The intrigue: Only Chicago had a higher percentage increase in people experiencing homelessness, with a 58% jump.

  • Denver metro's spike was greater by percentage than New York City (42%) and metro Los Angeles (10%).

The big picture: The report noted homelessness across Colorado grew by 39%, the same as New York state, which has more than three times as many people.

  • The increase here was due to a change in shelter capacity, an improved point-in-time-count methodology, and more people volunteering for the work.

The bottom line: 653,100 people nationwide experienced homelessness this year β€” or roughly 20 of every 10,000 people in the U.S., according to the report. That's a 12% jump from 2022's count.

  • It's the highest number of people reported as homeless in a single night since reporting began in 2007.
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