A worsening economy has countered vigorous efforts to house the homeless.
According to NBC News, the federal government and local communities have greatly increased the number of beds available to the homeless over the last four years. These have been either through emergency shelters or through government-subsidized apartments and houses.
However, the struggling economy has actually increased the number of homeless people in the United States. This has caused the number of homeless to remain stable between January 2011 and January 2012.
According to the recent national estimates, the homeless population of veterans decreased the most. However, homelessness within families increased slightly.
Each January, thousands government workers and nonprofit agencies spread out across the country to count the number of homeless people living in shelters and on the streets during a specific 24-hour period.
According to the Housing and Urban Development Department, the latest count estimates that the number of homeless at 633,782. Last year, the number stood at just a little more than 636,000.
A more encouraging trend did show up out these number though. The encouraging trend is that the percentage of homeless veterans as well as those homeless for more than a year each dropped by about 7 percent.
Agencies are focusing their money on getting the long-term homeless into a permanent housing situation. After getting them housing, they will then provide them with support services such as counseling and job training.
The Obama administration has set of goal of eliminating homelessness in veterans and chronic homelessness by the end of 2015.
Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki:
“This report continues a trend that clearly indicates we are on the right track in the fight to end homelessness among veterans.”
Advocates welcomed the numbers, but said they were a little skeptical on whether or not they can meet the administration’s goal.
Nan Roman, president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness said:
“It’s great that we made progress … but we’re obviously not going to end it by 2015 at this pace.”