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08 December 2017, 07:46 | Devin Moran
AP Jae C. Hong
The latest homeless figures are based on a single night in January 2017 in which many local agencies seek to identify the number of individuals and families living in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs and in unsheltered settings, according to HUD.
The overall homeless figure was down by 13 percent on a national scale 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.
In fast-growing Seattle, the unsheltered population grew by 44 percent to almost 5,500 over the past two years.
The HUD report findings were similar to the results of the 2017 Greater Los Angeles Homeless Count released in June by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, which put the county's homeless total at 57,794 - an increase of 23 percent over the previous count.
"There are days when I don't want to wake up", said 30-year-old Ashley, who found herself homeless in July after being evicted and losing her job.
And that work, HUD Secretary Ben Carson said Wednesday, should be aimed at building more housing - especially along the West Coast and in big cities elsewhere. Last January, the area counted a total of 55,188 individuals living in sheltered and unsheltered settings-an increase of almost 26 percent over January 2016.
Affordable Housing Crisis Forces US Homeless Numbers Up for First Time Since Great Recession
- 10,798 people were homeless representing an overall decrease of 792 individuals or 6.8 percent from 2016 and a 25 percent decrease since 2010.
Veteran homelessness decreased 4.25 percent since January 2016.
Additionally, since 2010, veteran homelessness declined nationally by 46 percent.
- The number of unaccompanied homeless youth and children in 2017 is estimated to be 730 youth.
That's a shift, as homeless numbers have gone down in the state every year since 2012. "With rents rising faster than incomes, we need to bring everybody to the table to produce more affordable housing and ease the pressure that is forcing too many of our neighbors into our shelters and onto our streets". This year, HUD and local communities launched a more intense effort to more accurately account for this important, hard to count population.
Nationwide, about 35 percent of the homeless are living in tents, cars and on the street. "This is not a federal problem-it's everybody's problem".
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