AUSTIN, Texas — With Austin's change to the homeless ordinances, it may seem like homeless people are everywhere. There's no doubt people say they're more visible because of the relaxed rules, but is the homeless population in the city actually growing? If it is, how does it compare to our area's explosive growth overall?

First, let's look at overall growth in a select time period – from 2013 to 2018. In that time, Austin's population grew from 855,215 to 964,254, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That's an increase of 12.4%.

To get homelessness numbers, KVUE went to the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition, or ECHO. This is an Austin nonprofit trying to find solutions for homelessness. 

ECHO gathered numbers from all Austin companies, nonprofits and shelters that take in the homeless. With that information, it came up with a number representing the closest estimate of how many people are homeless in Austin. The organization calls the statistic the "literally homeless population."

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In the same six-year time frame from 2013 to 2018, the homeless population grew from 6,232 to 7,992. This is a 28.2% increase – more than double what the population grew (12.4%).

RELATED: Our Homeless: Struggle on the Streets

Based on this data, KVUE can verify that Austin's homeless population is not only growing, but at a faster rate than our overall population.


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