HUD head count shows drop in US homeless numbers

23 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

HUD head count shows drop in US homeless numbers.

New figures released by the Department of Housing and Urban Development on Thursday showed that 564,708 people were homeless on a night in January of this year, a 2 percent drop from 2014. HUD officials said the decline, of a total of 11 percent since 2007, is an encouraging sign that the Obama administration is succeeding in its five-year-old goal of preventing and ending homelessness and ending what the government calls chronic homelessness by 2017.

The so-called point-in-time count in cities across the country on one night 10 months ago also showed persistent challenges for some populations to find permanent homes, including veterans, children and young adults and the chronically homeless. The HUD count, done by volunteers who fan out across major cities every year, looking under bridges, in parks and other known encampments for the homeless, records the number of people who are in shelters or living outside. But it does not count those who double up with families and friends for short spurts or longer durations, leading advocates to question whether the government is able to accurately gather information on the problem. They said they are still working on ways to accurately count young people and want to explore more use of social media and of housing advocates who have direct relationships with young people. Housing officials conceded that they will not reach the administration’s goal of ending veteran homelessness by the end of the year, but pointed to progress in helping a population that has long struggled with homelessness.

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