Imagine a world without homelessness -- or tinsel.

It would cost about $20 billion for the government to effectively eliminate homelessness in the United States, a Housing and Urban Development official told the New York Times on Monday.

That's just slightly less money than Americans spend on Christmas decorations, according to an analysis from ThinkProgress. Nearly 634,000 people were homeless last year, according to HUD. Check out ThinkProgress' infographic:

homelessness christmas

Earlier on HuffPost:

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  • Santa's Elf

    CareerCast may have named Santa as one of <a href="http://www.careercast.com/jobs-rated/best-worst-holiday-jobs-2012">the best holiday jobs of 2012</a>, but it's not so great being one of the underlings. As an elf, you get all of the humiliation of being Santa without the pay or love. Read more of the best and worst <a href="http://www.careercast.com/jobs-rated/best-worst-holiday-jobs-2012">holiday jobs at CareerNet</a>.

  • Christmas Tree Lot Attendant

    There's nothing glamorous about this job. It's cold, it involves physical labor and people are so picky about which doggone Christmas tree they want. Not to mention the splinters! Read more of the best and worst <a href="http://www.careercast.com/jobs-rated/best-worst-holiday-jobs-2012">holiday jobs at CareerNet</a>.

  • Snow Remover

    Another highly physical job -- snow is heavy, shoveling is cold and plows are expensive. You can only do this job when there's snow on the ground, so there's not much work to go around. The odds that you'll beat that teenager down the street to your elderly neighbors house is low, and the odds that she'll try to pay you in candy is high. Read more of the best and worst <a href="http://www.careercast.com/jobs-rated/best-worst-holiday-jobs-2012">holiday jobs at CareerNet</a>.

  • Airport Help

    What's worse than traveling during the holidays? Cleaning up after the people that do? Read more of the best and worst <a href="http://www.careercast.com/jobs-rated/best-worst-holiday-jobs-2012">holiday jobs at CareerNet</a>.

  • Taxi Driver

    Driving a taxi was recently rated one of the <a href="http://www.careercast.com/jobs-rated/10-most-stressful-jobs-2012">most stressful jobs </a>to have in general, so it's no surprise that a mix of holiday traffic and edgy passengers doesn't improve the vibe. Just look what happened to <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0075314/plotsummary">Robert DeNiro in the movie</a>! Read more of the best and worst <a href="http://www.careercast.com/jobs-rated/best-worst-holiday-jobs-2012">holiday jobs at CareerNet</a>.