The latest annual report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development shows that the national homeless population held steady from 2011 to 2012, hardly good news but perhaps better than expected given the relatively weak economic climate.
Progress is being made within the veteran community, with homeless rates falling by 17 percent since 2009, and among the chronically homeless, with 17 percent fewer people living on the streets as in 2007. But in the fight to end homelessness by the year 2020 — the stated mission of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness in their 2010 plan — progress isn’t happening fast enough:
“[The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness] have set ambitious goals for themselves, but I don’t think those are goals that aren’t doable,” said Nan Roman, the president of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. “But not at the rate that we’re going.”
What is needed, says Mark Johnston, the acting assistant housing secretary for community planning and development, is a ten-fold increase in HUD’s $1.9 billion budget to address the crisis. By any measure $20 billion is a lot of money, but the figure is far less daunting when placed in context: