HUD: slight drop in homelessness in 2012

HUD: slight drop in homelessness in 2012

Posted: Friday, December 14, 2012 8:00 pm

WASHINGTON – On a single night last January, 633,782 people were homeless in the United States, largely unchanged from the year before. 
In releasing HUD’s latest national estimate of homelessness, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan noted that even during a historic housing and economic downturn, local communities are reporting significant declines in the number of homeless veterans and those experiencing long-term chronic homelessness.
Meanwhile, local homeless housing and service providers in Tennessee reported that the number of sheltered and unsheltered homeless people increased by 3 percent between 2011 and 2012.
Five states accounted for nearly half of the nation’s homeless population in 2012: California (20.7 percent), New York 11.0 percent), Florida (8.7 percent), Texas (5.4 percent), and Georgia (3.2 percent).
HUD’s annual ‘point-in-time’ estimate seeks to measure the scope of homelessness over the course of one night every January.   Based on data reported by more than 3,000 cities and counties, last January’s estimate reveals a marginal decline in overall homelessness (-0.4%) along with a seven percent drop in homelessness among veterans and those experiencing long-term or chronic homelessness. 
Donovan said, “We continue to see a stable level of homelessness across our country at a time of great stress for those at risk of losing their housing.  We must redouble our efforts to target our resources more effectively to help those at greatest risk. 
As our nation’s economic recovery takes hold, we will make certain that our homeless veterans and those living on our streets find stable housing so they can get on their path to recovery.”
HUD Southeast Regional Administrator Edward Jennings, Jr. added, “Behind every number is a family or an individual living in our shelter system or even on our streets. 
While HUD and our local partners are working to reduce and eliminate homelessness, there are too many people struggling to find an affordable home to call their own.”
During one night in late January of 2012, local planners or “Continuums of Care” across the nation conducted a one-night count of their sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations.  These one-night ‘snapshot’ counts are then reported to HUD as part of state and local grant applications.  While the data reported to HUD does not directly determine the level of a community’s grant funding, these estimates, as well as full-year counts, are crucial in understanding the scope of homelessness and measuring progress in reducing it.
The Obama Administration’s strategic plan to end homelessness is called Opening Doors  – a roadmap by 19 federal member agencies of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness along with local and state partners in the public and private sectors.
The plan puts the country on a path to end veterans   by 2015; and to ending homelessness among children, family and youth by 2020. Published in The WCP 12.13.12

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