Homelessness in Massachusetts declines in 2016 HUD report finds

The number of people experiencing homelessness on a single night in Massachusetts declined by 7.2 percent in 2016, the Department of Housing and Urban Development said in a press release.

HUD released it’s annual 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress November 17. The report was based on the annual homeless census count that was conducted last January. In addition to the decline in the number of people experiencing homelessness, the report also found a 9.7 percent decrease in homeless families, a 16.2 percent drop in veterans experiencing homelessness, and a 9.8 percent decrease in chronic homelessness.

While HUD Secretary Julián Castro said in a statement that the results of the report show the nation is making significant progress, he noted the number of families who are doubled up or rent burdened remains a 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 measurable 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.”

According to the press release, on a single night in January 2016, state and local planning agencies in Massachusetts reported:

  • 19,608 people experienced homelessness, representing a 17.8 percent increase from January 2010. Most homeless persons (18,848) were located in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs while 760 persons were unsheltered.
  • The number of families with children experiencing homelessness increased 28.6 percent since 2010.
  • Veteran homelessness dropped by 25.1 percent (or 319 persons) since January 2011. On a single night in January 2016, 949 veterans were experiencing homelessness.
  • Chronic or long-term homelessness among individuals decreased by 36.6 percent (or 735 persons) since 2010.
  • The number of unaccompanied homeless youth and children appeared to decline in 2016 by 9.8 percent though HUD will launch a more robust effort to more accurately account for this important population in January of 2017.

Robert Sondak is a vendor and a writer for Spare Change News.

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