HUD Reports Drop in Homelessness, but Many Still on Streets
Persistent Challenges Still Exist in the Fight to End Homelessness
New data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) shows that 564,708 people were found to be homeless on a night in January of this year, a 2 percent drop from 2014, reports The Washington Post. HUD officials say the decline, a total of 11 percent since 2007, is a sign that the government is succeeding in its five-year-old goal of preventing and ending homelessness and chronic homelessness by 2017.
The point-in-time count from January showed persistent challenges for some populations to find permanent homes, including veterans, children, young adults, and the chronically homeless. The number of homeless veterans dropped 2,000 from last year to just under 48,000, a drop of 27,000 since 2010. Homeless youth totaled 180,760, with 127,787 being under the age of 18. About 37,000 were children without parents.
The Department of Education says the numbers are going up, however, counting more than 1.3 million children and youth in a survey during the 2013–2014 school year, a 3.4 percent rise from the year before. Others are concerned about the accuracy of HUD’s report because it is conducted for one night by volunteers who fan out across major cities counting those living outside or in shelters, but does not count those who double up with families and friends for short spurts or longer durations. HUD officals say they are working to improve strategies for collecting data, especially on homeless youth, looking to possibly explore the use of social media and housing advocates with direct relationships with young people.
With many still on the streets, the holiday season of Thanksgiving through Christmas is a busy time for rescue missions. Go to www.agrm.org/locate to find a mission near you and learn ways to get involved, volunteer, or donate.