One-quarter of homeless people in the U.S. live in California, despite Californians making up only 12 percent of the population.
Not only is homelessness more common on the West Coast but it is also more visible, because a higher proportion of homeless people are unsheltered. In the U.S., 24 percent of homeless people sleep outside, in vehicles or somewhere else not meant for human habitation. But that varies greatly from place to place: In California, 68 percent of homeless people are unsheltered, compared to just 5 percent in New York. ….
…. What’s to blame for such high numbers of unsheltered homeless on the West Coast? The reason isn’t drug use, mental health problems or weather. Rather, it is due to the extreme shortage of affordable housing. ….