Study: Seattle homeless population rises with rents

Seattle's homeless crisis could get worse if rents rise by just five percent over the next year according to a new study released by Zillow.

The study, conducted with help from researchers at the Department of Statistics at the University of Washington, looked at how rental prices tie into homelessness.

The study found that a five percent increase in rent prices would force 258 people into homelessness. 

Currently, in Seattle, there are about 11,643 individuals who are homeless according to the city's Count Us In report for 2017.

Comparatively, if rent increases by the same amount in New York, approximately 3,000 people would be homeless. In Los Angeles, 2,000 people would be homeless. 

Why?

The study blames rising rent rates as well as slower wage growth. Unexpected emergencies and small savings also contribute to the issue.

"We’ve seen so much pressure in rental housing markets that it’s created a rental affordability crisis that has spilled over into a homelessness crisis at lower income levels," said Dr. Skylar Olsen, a senior economist for Zillow.

Of Seattle's homeless population, 41 percent said they became homeless after being evicted or losing a job. 

© 2017 KING-TV


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