More fam­i­lies, fewer vets home­less

Austin American-Statesman - - THE SECOND FRONT -

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.

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