An overwhelming majority of Americans believe homelessness is a "serious problem," according to a new Rasmussen Reports poll released Monday.
According to the survey, 92% of American adults think homelessness is a serious problem, including 65% who say the problem is "very serious." Just 6% say they don't think the problem of homelessness is serious.
Awareness of the problem has grown since February, 2021, when 55% said it was very serious, according to Rasmussen.
The federal Housing and Urban Development (HUD) department announced it was directing $2.8 billion in funding to homeless services organizations in August, but only 28% of Americans believe homelessness should be the primary responsibility of the federal government. Four in 10 think it should be a state responsibility, while 16% say homelessness is a local responsibility. Another 16% are unsure.
The poll found that 68% of Americans believe the problem of homelessness has gotten worse in the last two years, versus 8% who think the problem has gotten better. Some 19% say the homeless problem has remained the same over the past two years.
Government policies and practices encourage increased homelessness in some cities and states more than others, according to 61% of respondents. Twelve percent disagree and 27% are not sure.
Broken down by political affiliation, Democrats are more likely to think homelessness should primarily be a federal responsibility, than Republicans, 34% to 21%. Among independents, 26% believe the homeless problem is the primary responsibility of the federal government.
According to the survey, 48% of Republicans, 38% of Democrats and 35% of independents believe states hold the primary responsibility for tackling homelessness.
The idea that homelessness should be a local responsibility was shared by 20% of Republicans, 16% of Democrats, and 14% of independents.
Clear majorities of every political affiliation and racial category agree that the problem of homelessness has gotten worse in the last two years, including: 79% of Republicans, 56% of Democrats, 71% of independents, 71% of whites, 60% of blacks, and 66% of other minorities.
Sixty-four percent of Republicans, 69% of Democrats, 61% of independents, 66% of whites, 69% of blacks, and 58% of other minorities say that homelessness in America is a very serious problem.
While more women than men believe the homeless problem is very serious, 70% to 60%, men are more likely than women – 64% to 58% – to say government policies and practices encourage increased homelessness in some cities and states more than others.
The poll was conducted Sept. 26-27 and surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.
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