Homelessness in the U.S. increased in 2018 for the second straight year after being in decline for seven years previously, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The small 0.3 percent increase from last year comes as the economy is booming and unemployment is at its lowest point in decades.

The homelessness rate is included in an annual report given to Congress Monday conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).


HUD Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonTreasury offers new guidance on opportunity zones HUD chief Carson leaves Dem lawmaker exasperated with answer on LGBT protections Hillicon Valley — Presented by CTIA and America's wireless industry — Google to require full benefits for temporary workers | House Intel to hold hearing on deepfakes | DOJ warns Academy over rule changes affecting Netflix MORE called the rise in homelessness last year relatively muted, saying that for it “to be relatively flat is actually pretty good” given the rise in real estate prices.

The report separates homeless by “sheltered” and “unsheltered.”

The unsheltered homeless population has increased steadily since 2015, while the sheltered population has decreased since 2014.

Advocates say the lack of affordable housing, particularly in metropolitan settings, is a leading factor in homelessness.

“There is a critical shortage of affordable rental housing in every jurisdiction across the country,” Barbara Poppe, the former executive director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, told the Journal.

Nearly one quarter of the country’s entire homeless population lives in New York City or Los Angeles as both cities grapple with increasing rents prices. Average rent in Los Angeles has increased 35 percent since 2012 and 20 percent in New York, according to the Journal.