Tag: ending homelessness

Houston Cuts Its Homeless Population Nearly in Half

Wendell Johnson readies his bed at the Salvation Army shelter September 23, 2005 in Houston. (Photo: Getty Images)

A new report from Coalition for the Homeless reveals that the number of unsheltered homeless people in the Houston area has dropped by 46 percent since 2011.

The statistics come from a “point-in-time” count of people who were experiencing homelessness on January 29, 2015, in the greater Houston area (Harris County and Fort Bend County) in Texas. The annual canvass found that there were 4,609 people either staying in emergency shelters, transitional housing or safe havens, or unsheltered (living in places not meant for human habitation, such as abandoned buildings or under bridges). In 2011, that number was 8,538. This puts the current homeless rate at 1 out of every 1,130 residents. That number was 1 out of every 450 residents in 2011. Just under 60 percent of those displaced citizens are black.

“It’s incredible,” said Marilyn Brown, president and CEO of Coalition for the Homeless in the Houston Chronicle’s article available behind the newspaper’s paywall. “When we see the result—that the number of homeless has been cut in half—we see we’ve gone from managing homelessness to ending it.” With 58 percent of the total homeless population installed in some type of housing, all signs point to that being true.

The coalition of homeless services providers said their success stems from the The Way Home, a local collaborative model adopted in 2012 with the goal of eradicating homelessness by installing permanent housing units and creating a coordinated intake, needs assessment and triage system that gets people the help they need more efficiently.

article by Kenrya Rankin Naasel via colorlines.com

In a U.S. First, New Orleans Finds Homes for All its Homeless Veterans

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US Navy veteran Ray Charles Griggs receives keys to his new home in New Orleans, December, 2014. New Orleans became the first US city to end veteran homelessness on Jan. 2 after housing 227 people in less than six months. (Photo Courtesy of UNITY of Greater New Orleans)

Most people celebrate the New Year by making resolutions. The city of New Orleans rang in 2015 by keeping one.

At 6 p.m. on Jan. 2, social workers in New Orleans moved the city’s last known homeless veteran into his new apartment – becoming the first US city to effectively eliminate veteran homelessness.

Homelessness advocates around the country are hailing New Orleans as a model for cities around the country looking to end homelessness, not just for veterans, but for all people needing a permanent home.

“The solutions that work for veterans are the solutions that work for all people,” says Laura Zeilinger, executive director of the US Interagency Council on Homelessness. “The problem is absolutely solvable when we invest in the practices that we know work.”

This time last year, nearly 50,000 US veterans had no home to call their own, according to an annual count. On Independence Day, first lady Michelle Obama launched the Mayor’s Challenge to End Veteran Homelessness. Since that time, more than 300 mayors, six governors, and 71 other local officials have joined the pledge to house every veteran by the end of 2015.

New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu took that pledge one step further, promising to meet the goal by the end of 2014.

“We owe our Veterans our eternal gratitude for their service and sacrifice to this nation, and making sure they have a place to call home is a small but powerful way we can show our appreciation,” Mayor Landrieu said in a statement Wednesday, announcing that New Orleans had housed all known veterans in the Crescent City.

In total, the city has placed 227 veterans in housing since the start of 2014.

Other cities have made huge strides in this area as well. Both Phoenix and Salt Lake City have managed to house all chronically homeless veterans, who have experienced long-term homelessness. The city of Binghamton, N.Y., successfully housed its 21 homeless veterans in November 2014. However, New Orleans is the first major city to be able to meet the needs of all homeless veterans, according to the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

“There’s been a lot of skepticism as to whether this is a problem that we can actually solve and I think that [New Orleans’ progress] is a proof point for us as a nation that this is something that can actually be done,” says Ann Oliva, HUD’s deputy assistant secretary for special needs.

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