Despite downturns in the economy and in housing, the amount of overall homelessness has decreased around the United States.
Each January the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) takes a one-night count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations around the country. In 2012, there were 633,782 homeless people in the U.S., down 0.4 percent from last year. There was also a seven percent drop in homelessness amongst veterans and those experiencing long-term or chronic homelessness.
However, in Illinois, there was a slight rise of one percent in the number of homeless people. In 2012, there were 14,144 homeless people in the state, up from 2011's number of 14,009. There was also an increase in homeless veterans, up to 1,147 from 1,081. However, there was a decline in those considered chronically homeless, from 2,400 in 2011 to 2,079 in 2012.
"Behind every number is a family or an individual living in our shelter system or even on our streets," HUD Midwest Regional Administrator Antonio R. Riley said. "While HUD and our local partners are working to reduce and eliminate homelessness, there are too many people struggling to find an affordable home to call their own."
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