Since the first year that data on American homelessness was gathered, the numbers have fallen. Fewer people are homeless now than in 2007, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness. The United States has seen a drop of 12%, although there has been an uptick in recent years. Now, advocates worry that the coronavirus pandemic will erase the progress. Protecting against the spread of the coronavirus is particularly tricky, if not impossible, for people without homes or anywhere to isolate or socially distance.
Some communities have formed a network to find solutions to the problem. Started by an organization called Community Solutions in 2015, the effort concentrated at first on trying to end homelessness for veterans and the chronically homeless. So far, by its standards, 13 communities have accomplished the goal. The federal government, using different criteria, has credited more than 80 communities and three states with success. The government ordered a halt to evictions during the coronavirus pandemic, but the ban expires at the end of the year. Advocates are urging the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to extend the protections until next year.