More families, fewer vets homeless
WASHINGTON — A vigorous effort to house the homeless has been countered somewhat by a sluggish economy.
The federal government and local communities have greatly increased the number of beds available to the homeless over the last four years, either through emergency shelters or through government-subsidized apartments and houses. But the struggling economy contributed to the number of homeless people in the United States remaining stable between January 2011 and January 2012.
The biggest drop occurred with veterans while homelessness within families increased slightly, according to the latest national estimates.
Each January, thousands of workers with local governments and nonprofit agencies fan out across the country to count the number of homeless people living in shelters and on the streets during a specific 24-hour period. The latest count estimates the number of homeless at 633,782, according to the Housing and Urban Development Department. The year before, the number stood at slightly more than 636,000.
Within those numbers was a more encouraging trend: The percentage of homeless veterans as well as those homeless for more than a year each dropped by about 7 percent.
The Obama administration has set of goal of eliminating veterans’ homelessness and chronic homelessness by the end of 2015.