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, below the state rate of 27 and national rate of 17. Essex's rate was down from a recent high of 26 in 2015 but up from 11 in 2007. However, it should be noted that the rate for Essex County does not include data from its two largest localities, Lynn and Lawrence. Lynn's data is collected separately, and homelessness in Lynn has increased from 26 to 110 homeless persons per 10,000 residents. Data for Lawrence is not available separately, but instead included in figures for a larger swath of Massachusetts.
Essex County's rate was below Westchester, NY (19) and above Lake, IL (4). Lake experienced a reduction in its rate since 2007 while Westchester stayed the same.
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.