New statistics from Housing and Urban Development indicate that “on a single night last January, 633,782 people were homeless in the United States, largely unchanged from the year before.”
The new numbers on homelessness, based on data reported by more than 3,000 cities and counties in the one-night “snapshot” count, show less than half a percent decline in overall homelessness, with a seven point drop in homelessness among veterans and the chronically homeless.
“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,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. “We must redouble our efforts to target our resources more effectively to help those at greatest risk.”
Meanwhile, the number of homeless families increased 1.4 percent from last year.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chairman of the Veterans Affair Committee, said the report is mixed news.
“Those who heroically served America in the military should not find themselves struggling to find a bed to sleep in or a meal to eat,” Murray said. “With new servicemembers returning home every day and the economy on the road to recovery, it is critically important to continue supporting programs like HUD-VASH and SSVF. I am grateful for the progress we have seen, because these programs have been working.”
“However; I am deeply concerned about the data indicating an increase in homeless families,” she continued. “I firmly believe the success of our nation’s families and the future of our economy are rooted in the investments we make in basic necessities like education and housing.”
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).
Street homelessness, referred to as “the unsheltered homeless population,” was unchanged since January 2011.