Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Fewer chronically homeless, feds say

The number of chronically homeless adults who live on the streets or in emergency shelters has declined, the federal government says.

The number fell 12% to 155,623 in January 2006 from 175,914 in January 2005, according to a report by HUD. The report is based on data — taken on a single day — from 3,900 cities and counties.

Michael Stoops, acting executive director of the National Coalition for the Homeless, says he's "very skeptical" of HUD's numbers, adding that people who work with the homeless do not see an overall decline. He wonders whether some homeless people are no longer being counted because they've been pushed out of downtowns into neighborhoods that do not provide as many services or track the issue as closely.

"This is not just shuffling people," said Philip Mangano, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which coordinates federal efforts. "This isn't anecdote or conjecture." He cites HUD figures that show nearly 60,000 new permanent beds have been made available for the homeless since 2001.

Read the USA Today article here.


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