Hawaii has among largest increases in homeless individuals in nation

The Aloha State has among one of the largest increases in homeless individuals in the nation, according to a report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development Thursday. 

Hawaii saw a 6.6 percent increase from last year, according to the 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress. That’s about 283 homeless individuals. 

Topping the list was California with a 4.8 percent increase at 4,504, Washington with 11 percent at 1,374, Colorado with 12.6 percent at 721, Missouri with 14.2 percent at 376 and Hawaii rounding out at fifth. 

Florida, Illinois, Nevada and New York had the largest decreases. 

National estimates find significant reductions among families and chronically homeless individuals.

HUD’s report found that 549,928 persons experienced homelessness on a single night in 2016, a decline of 14 percent since 2010, the year the Obama Administration launched Opening Doors, the nation’s first comprehensive strategy to prevent and end homelessness.

Over this a period, HUD estimates the nation experienced a 23 percent reduction among homeless families, a 47 percent drop in Veteran homelessness, and a 27 percent decline in individuals experiencing chronic homelessness. This national estimate is based upon data reported by approximately 3,000 cities and counties across the nation.

Every year on a single night in January, planning agencies called ‘Continuums of Care” and tens of thousands of volunteers seek to identify the number of individuals and families living in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs and in unsheltered settings. 

In making the announcement, HUD Secretary Julián Castro noted that though the nation is making significant progress in reducing homelessness, the number of ‘doubled up’ or rent-burdened families remains a vexing problem.

“Every person deserves a safe, stable place to call home,” said Secretary Castro. “The Obama Administration has made unprecedented progress toward ending homelessness and today marks the seventh straight year of measureable progress. While we know that our work is far from finished, it’s clear we’re on the right track to prevent and end homelessness for good.”

During one night in late January of 2016, tens of thousands of volunteers across the nation sought to identify individuals and families living on their streets as well as in emergency shelters and transitional housing programs.  These one-night ‘snapshot’ counts, as well as full-year counts and data from other sources (U.S. Housing Survey, Department of Education), are crucial in understanding the scope of homelessness and measuring progress toward reducing it. 

Key Findings of HUD’s 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report:

On a single night in January 2016, state and local planning agencies reported:

  • 549,928 people were homeless representing an overall 14 percent reduction from January 2010. Most homeless persons (373,571) were located in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs while 176,357 persons were unsheltered.
  • The number of families with children experiencing homelessness declined 23 percent since 2010. 
  • Veteran homelessness dropped by 47 percent (or 34,616 persons) since January 2010. On a single night in January 2016, 39,471 veterans were experiencing homelessness. 
  • Chronic or long-term homelessness among individuals declined by 27 percent (or 77,486 persons) since 2010.
  • The number of unaccompanied homeless youth and children appeared to decline in 2016 to 35,686 though HUD will launch a more robust effort to more accurately account for this important population in January of 2017.
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