Monday, December 11, 2017

HUD says homelessness decreased in most places this year; secretary urges local solutions

U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development map; click on the image for a larger version.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson told reporters on a conference call last week that homelessness is not just a federal problem, but a "societal problem" and that more local solutions could help.

Overall homelessness increased for the first time in seven years, according to HUD's report, though 30 states saw declines in homelessness. Most of the increase was in West Coast cities. The report says rural homelessness decreased, but getting the true numbers can be tricky since the survey is done in late January when many homeless people are able to briefly stay with a friend or spring for a cheap hotel until the weather warms up. Homelessness among veterans has decreased overall, but youth homelessness has increased (partly due to better counting).

During the call, "HUD officials declined to discuss federal budget proposals and funding mechanisms, like Section 8 vouchers, that could ease the local housing crisis, instead emphasizing the importance of communal response and public-private partnerships in spurring future multi-family and mixed-income development," Dave Nyczepir reports for Route Fifty. Increased local funding may be a problem in cash-strapped small towns and rural areas.

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