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More than 500,000 people are homeless in the United States — a quarter of them are children

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More than 500,000 people – a quarter of them children – were homeless in the United States this year amid scarce affordable housing across much of the nation, according to a study released on Thursday.

The report, from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), said the number was down slightly from 2014. Many U.S. cities are confronting a sluggish economic recovery, stagnant or falling wages among the lowest-income earners and budget constraints for social welfare programs.

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Los Angeles, Seattle, Portland, Oregon and Hawaii have all recently declared emergencies over the rise of homelessness, and on Thursday Seattle’s mayor toured a new encampment for his city’s dispossessed.

“Despite national estimates, New York City continues to experience near record homelessness,” said Giselle Routhier, a spokeswoman for the Coalition for the Homeless, an advocacy group.

According to HUD’s latest tally, nearly 565,000 people were living on the streets in cars, in homeless shelters or in subsidized transitional housing during a one-night national survey in January. Nearly one-fourth were aged 18 or under.

That number was down 2 percent from the previous year’s count and 11 percent from 2007, HUD said.

The actual U.S. homeless population is likely higher than HUD’s snapshot suggests because many people living without the means to put a roof over their heads are beyond the reach of the survey, sleeping on a friend’s couch or a relative’s basement.

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HUD reported separately this month that roughly 1.49 million individuals used a shelter in 2014, up 4.6 percent from 2013, agency spokeswoman Heather Fluit said.

Even as homelessness has waned nationally, 17 states posted increases, including the two most populous – New York and California, up nearly 10 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively, from last year.

Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia recorded declines, with the biggest drops found in Florida, Texas, Georgia, Michigan and New Jersey.

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“I am glad it’s trending downward, but a 2 percent change (nationally) is pretty much flat,” said Nan Roman, president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness, in Washington.

A lack of affordable housing, combined with slumping pay at the lower end of the U.S. wage scale, has been cited by analysts as a driver of homelessness in a number of U.S. cities.

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“We are 7 million units short of affordable housing for low-income people – that’s a big gap,” Roman said.

(Reporting by Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Steve Gorman and Sandra Maler)


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‘They just fired on us’: Horrifying videos of cops ‘using journalists for target practice’ in Minneapolis

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Journalists covering the protests in Minneapolis reported on being targeted by police on Saturday.

Multiple reports -- including live coverage on CNN -- showed police firing rubber bullets at journalists.

It’s open season on the media for the cops in Minneapolis. Evil. https://t.co/ZR3Nnf9ofH

— Nick Stellini (@StelliniTweets) May 31, 2020

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Scientists warn of ‘superspreaders’ as Americans flock back to restaurants, salons and churches

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SAN DIEGO — Churches. Hair salons. Restaurants. Malls. What do they all have in common?They’ve all been cleared to reopen in San Diego County amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic — and by and large, they all require people to congregate inside, potentially with strangers.This comes as an increasingly vocal group of scientists has sounded the alarm about the danger of indoor gatherings due to the potential for airborne transmission of the disease by “superspreaders.”This week Kimberly Prather of UC San Diego’s Scripps Institution of Oceanography penned an urgently worded perspective paper in t... (more…)

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About 75% of Trump’s proposed coronavirus capital gains tax cut would go to the top 1% of earners

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Roughly three-quarters of the benefits from the capital gains tax cut floated by President Donald Trump as part of the administration's coronavirus relief plan would go to the top 1% of earners, according to the Tax Policy Center.

Trump has repeatedly floated a cut to capital gains taxes, which are taxes paid by investors on profits made when an asset, like stock or real estate, is sold. The capital gains tax rate is already 35% lower than the top income tax rate, and only about 6% of households in the bottom 80% of earners claim any capital gains, meaning the overwhelming majority of benefits would flow to the wealthy.

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