Number Of Homeless Declines Again, But Gains Aren’t Universal

The number of homeless people in the U.S. shrank from 2012 to 2013, according to a large government study that found the number of veterans and others who are homeless declined for the third straight year. But homeless numbers rose in New York and other states, according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The study also found that nearly 20 percent of homeless people were in either New York City (11 percent of the U.S. total) or Los Angeles (9 percent).

….The HUD report saw continued progress from recent efforts to help two groups: military veterans and people who are chronically homeless.

….The advocacy group National Alliance to End Homelessness says that many small groups deserve some credit, as well.

“Communities across the country are to be commended,” the organization said in its reaction to today’s HUD release. “Federal funding sources dedicated to homelessness have not increased appreciably, with the exception of dollars targeted specifically toward veterans. Instead, it is local providers and local communities implementing effective strategies and targeting resources more efficiently.”

According to HUD, the pairing of housing with support programs that provide aid in dealing with mental illness, substance abuse and other issues “not only ends homelessness for these vulnerable individuals, but also saves the taxpayer money by interrupting a costly cycle of emergency room visits, detoxes, and even jail terms.”

by Bill Chappell, NPR

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