A new analysis projects that the number of homeless Americans could increase by as much as 45% this year as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the country and lead to job losses.
With more than 36 million people filing unemployment claims since mid-March, when the virus morphed into a pandemic in the U.S., homelessness is becoming a growing concern.
Columbia University economics professor Dr. Brendan O'Flaherty reviewed the data and concluded that the number of homeless Americans could reach 800,000 by the summer. He estimated that as many as 250,000 people could become homeless.
The U.S. unemployment rate shot up from 4.4% in March to 14.7% in April as businesses closed, many temporarily, and most Americans were forced to stay at home to help slow the spread of the virus that has now killed more than 300,000 people worldwide.
"This is unprecedented," O'Flaherty said. "No one living has seen an increase of 10% of unemployment in a month."
The unemployment rate reached nearly 25% in 1933 during the Great Depression. Goldman Sachs Group predicted that the rate could hit that number by this summer.
States are starting to reopen, albeit with some restrictions, and governors hope that their economies can resume commerce and bring in much-needed tax revenue.
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