Most Americans believe homelessness is worse under Biden: poll

A homeless man pushes his belongings past tents on August 16, 2023, on a Skid Row sidewalk in Los Angeles, California, where homelessness has seen a 10 percent surge compared to last year. A recent report from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority reveals an estimate of 42,260 people living on the streets of Los Angeles without shelter, as the homeless population has more than doubled over the past decade. | FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe homelessness has worsened during the Biden administration, with fewer than 10% believing it's not a serious problem

According to Rasmussen Reports, 64% of respondents believe that homelessness has gotten worse over the past two years, while 18% said the problem is about the same and 12% said the problem has gotten better.

Additionally, according to the research, 87% of Americans believe homelessness is a serious problem, including 61% who agree the problem is “very serious.”

Those who consider homelessness a “very serious” problem include 64% of Republicans, 57% of Democrats and 62% of respondents who identified as politically unaffiliated.

For its report, Rasmussen drew from a survey of 1,085 American adults that was conducted Sept. 19-21, with a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The research also found that Democrat respondents were far more likely to believe that homelessness had gotten better over the past two years, with 26% of them saying so, versus 4% of Republican respondents and 6% of independent respondents.

Democrats were also less likely to believe that homelessness has gotten worse in the past two years, with 46% of Democrat respondents believing this, versus 77% of Republicans and 71% of independents.

When it comes to tackling the problem of homelessness, 36% said it was a state responsibility, while 18% said it was a local responsibility, 30% said it was a federal responsibility and 16% were unsure.

While sizable, the number of Americans who consider homelessness to be a serious problem and believe that homelessness has gotten worse over the past two years has slightly declined compared to when Rasmussen conducted this survey last year.

Rasmussen reported last year that 92% of Americans believed homelessness was a serious problem, with 65% saying the problem was “very serious,” while 68% felt it had gotten worse over the past two years.

In June, The Wall Street Journal reported that the number of homeless people in the United States was on the rise, especially in major urban centers like Chicago, Illinois; Miami, Florida; Boston, Massachusetts; and Phoenix, Arizona.

The Journal noted that one factor in the rise in homelessness was the ending of protections enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic for people facing evictions.

Other factors cited in the report included mental health issues, the effects of the opioid dependence crisis, and an influx of asylum seekers and migrants who entered the nation illegally.  

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