Homelessness in Kansas declines in 2016

(Media General photo)
(Media General photo)

WASHINGTON –  Homelessness continues to decline in the U.S, specifically among families with children, Veterans, and individuals with long-term disabling conditions according to the latest national estimate by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  Meanwhile, HUD’s 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress found the number of persons experiencing homelessness in Kansas on a single night in 2016 fell 12.9 percent from 2015.

Specifically, HUD estimates Kansas experienced an 8.5 percent reduction among homeless families, a 46 percent drop in Veteran homelessness, and a 31.3 percent decline in individuals experiencing chronic homelessness.

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.

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

  • 2255 people experienced homelessness, representing an 11.4 percent increase from January 2010. Most homeless persons (1973) were located in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs while 282 persons were unsheltered.
  • The number of families with children experiencing homelessness increased nearly 46 percent since 2010.
  • Veteran homelessness dropped by 76 percent (or 542 persons) since January 2010. On a single night in January 2016, 169 veterans were experiencing homelessness.
  • Chronic or long-term homelessness among individuals increased by 22 percent (or 42 persons) since 2010.
  • The number of unaccompanied homeless youth and children appeared to decline in 2016 to 106 though HUD will launch a more robust effort to more accurately account for this important population in January of 2017.

The Obama Administration’s strategic plan to end homelessness is called Opening Doors – a roadmap for joint action by the 19 federal member agencies of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness along with local and state partners in the public and private sectors. The Plan offers strategies to connect mainstream housing, health, education, and human service programs as part of a coordinate plan to prevent and end homelessness.

While homelessness nationally continues to decline, some communities are reporting less progress.  Read more information on state/local-level homelessness.