U.S. homeless on rise for time since 2010

Homeless people living along the Santa Ana Riverbed in Orange County. Nov. 10 2017

Homelessness in Minnesota climbed 4.5 percent in 2017 compared to the year before, according to estimates released by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on Wednesday.

Most homeless persons (360,867) were located in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs while 192,875 persons were unsheltered.

Even with the increase, the number of homeless in Minnesota this year was 2.6 percent less than in 2010, which coincided with the national foreclosure crisis when many people lost their homes.

On a given night across the country, 553,742 people were homeless, with almost two-thirds housed in shelters or transitional housing programs and one- third living on the streets, according to the report.

For example, since 2010, more than 480,000 veterans and their family members have been permanently housed, rapidly rehoused, or prevented from falling into homelessness through HUD's targeted housing vouchers and VA's homelessness programs.

Agencies reported 226 people were homeless. About 6 percent of people experiencing homelessness had no access to nightly shelter.

"Despite a slight increase in overall Veteran homelessness, I am pleased that the majority of communities in the US experienced declines over the past year", said Shulkin.

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"HUD remains committed to our state and local partners, to fighting homelessness in Louisiana and throughout the country", said Beth Van Duyne, HUD Regional Administrator. Nationally, the overall homeless number was down by 13 percent since 2010 and the unsheltered number has dropped by 17 percent over that seven-year span, although some changes in methodology and definitions over the years can affect comparisons.

California had 134,278 homeless people, and while the Golden State has the nation's largest population, the rate of 34 homeless residents per 10,000 people was twice the national average, according to the report.

HUD's national estimate is based upon data reported by approximately 3,000 cities and counties across the nation.

This year, HUD and local communities launched a more intense effort to more accurately account for the population.

The number of unaccompanied homeless youth and children in 2017 is estimated to be 408. HUD will treat 2017 as a baseline year for purposes of tracking progress toward reducing youth homelessness.

Long-term or chronic homelessness among individuals with disabilities declined 18 percent since 2010. The increase is reportedly due to a surge in the number of people in West Coast cities who can not afford the rising cost of housing. Research demonstrates that for those experiencing chronic homelessness, providing permanent housing, coupled with appropriate low-barrier supportive services, is the most effective solution for ending homelessness.

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