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More Americans live on streets despite overall decline in homelessness

The number of homeless people sleeping in shelters and streets altogether went up by 12 percent in Los Angeles and 14.4 percent in Washington, D.C. in 2015, says a new U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development report issued Thursday.

The nationwide homeless population was 549,928, compared with 564,708 in the previous year, finds the annual report, which tracks the number of homeless people on one given night each year.

Unaccompanied homeless people under the age of 25 made up about 7 percent of the population, while military veterans comprised a little more than 9 percent.

However, the number of people living outdoors in encampments, on sidewalks, in parks or in cars increased by 1.8 percent during the same period, the report finds, noting two-thirds of the homeless population isn’t sheltered.

Overall, one in five homeless people in the U.S. lives in New York City or Los Angeles, said a Wall Street Journal report.

Many of the increases in the number of homeless have been in cities where high housing costs have played a role, such as Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and Seattle, said the report.

California had the largest homeless population, with 118,142 people or a 2.1 percent increase since 2015. Of those, more than 78,000 people were living outdoors, with the rest in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs or other such locations, said the report.

“There is no doubt the lack of affordable housing is the big driver in our homelessness numbers,” said Norm Suchar, director of HUD’ s Office of Special Needs Assistance Programs.

In the past eight years under the Obama Administration, which has targeted veteran and chronic homelessness, the homeless population has decreased by about 80,300 people, or roughly 13 percent. Enditem.

Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh

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