LA’s chronic homelessness population is largest in the nation

20 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

HUD report says homelessness on the decline in Rhode Island.

Fewer Minnesotans were homeless at the start of this year than in 2014 — the first drop in several years and one more dramatic than the national average.The federal government’s annual homelessness count showed an increase in New Yorkers living on the streets or in shelters, even as the number of homeless people nationwide dipped slightly compared with the previous year.

The results of the count, released on Thursday by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, confirmed what many New Yorkers had already recognized, particularly in recent months — that homelessness was rising and that more government action was needed. New York, with a population of over eight million, has about 14 percent of all homeless people in the United States, or 75,323 people, the count found.

The national total declined 2 percent. “I’m delighted that this year … we saw the first decrease in many, many years,” said Cathy ten Broeke, state director to prevent and end homelessness. The city’s number, which counts the people staying in shelters overseen by the Homeless Services Department, peaked at just over 59,000 last December, and it is currently just under 58,000. The government said the decrease was due in part to investments by Congress and a joint program between HUD and the Department of Veterans Affairs to provide rental subsidies and other services to veterans. On Wednesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, unveiled a $2.6 billion, 15-year plan to create 15,000 units of housing that will include social services for veterans, mentally disabled people and others needing help. HUD Secretary Julian Castro also noted in a conference call that the state of Virginia and more than a dozen cities including New Orleans; Houston; Las Vegas; Mobile, Alabama; and Troy, New York, have created programs to end homelessness among veterans in their communities.

Bratton struck a different tone, saying street homelessness “has exploded over the last two years.” “It hasn’t crept up on us,” Commissioner Bratton said during a panel discussion on quality-of-life issues in New York, held by the Manhattan Institute, a right-leaning think tank. He also suggested the mayor had been slow to acknowledge the problem. “The mistake the administration made early on was not validating what everyone was seeing,” Mr.

After the commissioner’s remarks, a spokeswoman for the mayor issued a series of statements from Mr. de Blasio, some from early in his administration, in which he pledged to address homelessness. Patty Beech, the coordinator of that region’s Continuum of Care group, said that there are several reasons behind that dramatic drop, some worth celebrating.

Castro said, “and it’s experiencing this affordable housing crisis at a time when shrinking federal budgets fail to provide HUD and our partners with the resources that we need to get to the finish line.” Los Angeles and New York were among the five major cities that accounted for a quarter of unaccompanied homeless youths. But groups like First Focus Campaign for Children, a nonprofit children’s advocacy group based in Washington, say that many homeless adolescents avoid public places where they could be counted for fear of referral to Child Protective Services and that they avoid shelters out of safety concerns. But the 2015 count of people outside of shelters, often found “living in a doorway, living in a fish house, living in a shack,” seems unusually low, Beech said.

Castro said HUD was working on improvements to the counting process. “We’ll take additional actions that will further improve the accuracy of our data and produce more effective solutions for the challenges facing our young people,” he said.

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