Home Emergency Management News Homelessness Becoming a Big Problem in Some Big Cities

Homelessness Becoming a Big Problem in Some Big Cities


U.S. regions are making emergency declarations due to homelessness

With more and more regions of the U.S. grappling with issues related to homelessness, the practice of making emergency declarations to deal with the issues is becoming more commonplace.

The growing list of U.S. cities and regions that have declared a state of emergency due to homelessness gained another member last week - San Francisco.

San Francisco

San Francisco is the latest major city to make an emergency declaration after struggling to deal with increasing homelessness in recent months. Last week, San Francisco Supervisor David Campos called for city officials to declare a state of emergency on homelessness.

Campos said he is hoping that the declaration will help speed up the opening of additional shelters in the city, and that he is acting in response to increasing complaints about the growing size of local homeless encampments.

With a declaration, San Francisco will be following in the footsteps of other cities and states:

Seattle, WA

In November 2015, Seattle Mayor Ed Murray declared a state of emergency over homelessness. Months later, the city stepped up efforts even more, hiring a well-known homeless expert to help the city deal with the homelessness crisis.

Los Angeles

In September 2015, Los Angeles declared a state of emergency on homelessness and requested $100 million to help address the crisis. At the time of the declaration, city officials said that homelessness had grown 12 percent since 2013 and that the city had at least 25,000 homeless residents.


The acting Governor of Hawaii, Shan Tsutsui, extended the state’s emergency proclamation to address homelessness earlier this week. Hawaii first issued the emergency proclamation on October 16, 2015 and then extended the emergency on both October 26 and December 24.

Hawaii has the highest per capita rate of homelessness in U.S., with approximately 465 homeless per 100,000 people.

Matt Mills Matt Mills has been involved in various aspects of online media, both on the editorial side and on the technology side, for more than 16 years. He holds a Master's Degree in Journalism from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, and is currently involved in multiple projects focused on innovation journalism.