State homelessness keeps increasing

OKLAHOMA CITY –   Homelessness crept up in Oklahoma according to the latest national estimate by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

While overall homelessness increased 2.2 percent, HUD’s 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress found that homelessness among families increased 23.9 percent in the state since 2016.

Three hundred and forty-nine veterans were counted homeless as well, which represents a 2.5 percent decrease since over 2016 and with an overall decrease of 24.6 percent since 2010.   Nationally, 553,742 persons experienced homelessness on a single night in 2017, a .7 percent increase over last year.

“In many high-cost areas of our country, especially along the West Coast, the severe shortage of affordable housing is manifesting itself on our streets,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson.  “With rents rising faster than incomes, we need to bring everybody to the table to produce more affordable housing and ease the pressure that is forcing too many of our neighbors into our shelters and onto our streets.  This is not a federal problem – it’s everybody’s problem.”

“HUD remains committed to helping our state and local partners fight homelessness in Oklahoma and throughout the country,” said Beth Van Duyne, HUD Regional Administrator.   “While 2017 saw a 2.2 percent increase in overall homelessness in the state, levels of chronic homelessness dropped over 16 percent, which is great progress.”

On a single night in January 2017, state and local planning agencies (Continuums of Care) in Oklahoma reported:

  • 4,199 people were homeless representing an overall 2.2 percent increase from 2016 but a 19.7 percent decrease since 2010.
  • 3,084 were located in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs while 1,115 persons were unsheltered.
  • The number of families with children experiencing homelessness increased 23.9 percent since 2016 but a 28.1 percent decrease since 2010.
  • Veteran homelessness decreased 2.5 percent since January 2016. Since 2010, however, Veteran homelessness in Arkansas declined 26.4 percent.  On a single night in January 2017, 349 Oklahoma veterans were experiencing homelessness.
  • Chronic or long-term homelessness among individuals decreased 16.9 percent over 2016 levels (or 23 persons).
  • The number of unaccompanied homeless youth and children in 2017 is estimated to be 363. This year, HUD and local communities launched a more intense effort to more accurately account for this important, difficult to count population. HUD will treat 2017 as a baseline year for purposes of tracking progress toward reducing youth homelessness.