The prevalence of homelessness, expressed as a measure of homeless persons per 10,000 residents.
The prevalence of homelessness can be an indicator of a community's ability to provide stable jobs that pay a living wage, adequate support for the unemployed, affordable housing and accessible health care. Homelessness is related to larger issues such as poverty, employment, mental health, substance abuse, and family violence. The way a community cares for its more vulnerable citizens can also be a marker of collaboration and social support systems.
Essex County had a rate of 12 homeless persons per 10,000 residents in 2019, lower than the state rate of 27 and below the national rate of 17. Essex's rate was down from a recent high of 26 in 2015 but up slightly from 11 in 2007. Since 2007, the statewide rate increased from 24 to 27 and the national rate has steadily decreased, falling from 21 to 17. The City of Lynn increased from 26 to 100 homeless persons per 10,000 residents.
Essex County has the second-highest rate of homeless residents among the comparison counties, below Westchester, NY (19) and higher than Lake, IL (4). Lake experienced a reduction in rate since 2007 while Westchester stayed the same and Essex County had slight increases.
It is very difficult to obtain an exact count of homeless persons, due to transience and limited resources for record-keeping. Comparable data presented for available counties are currently limited to point-in-time counts done on one night in January. Data for this indicator are released annually in October.