A new federal report released this morning indicates that the U.S. government has made "big strides" in reducing the ranks of the chronically homeless and of veterans who are without a home. But the report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development cautions that the recent gains will not be enough for the White House to reach its goal of ending homelessness among those two populations by 2015.
The report, to be delivered to Congress today, indicates that the nation's homeless rates held stead through the height of the recession and the number of homeless increased slightly.
“Every number in this estimate is a person, a family or a veteran living in our shelters or even on our streets," wrote Shaun Donovan, secretary of HUD. "It’s exactly why we have to redouble our efforts to find real and lasting solutions for those facing homelessness.”
The report says that the number of chronically homeless—individuals who are in regular need of mental and physical health services—fell approximately 7 percent in 2011 and fell by more than 19 percent since 2007. The number of homeless veterans declined more than 7 percent in 2011 and by more than 17 percent since 2009.
In 2010, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness announced a goal of ending chronic and veteran homelessness by 2015, and ending homelessness among families, the young and children by 2020.