Wyoming's homeless population continues to rise

Homelessness in a big city

Back in January, a local point-in-time count found that 11,643 were experiencing homelessness in King County.

Kim Skornogoski, marketing director for United Way of Cascade County, said while estimates are "solid" numbers, they do not reflect the full scope of homelessness in the community. He said it takes some people as long as eight months to find an affordable house, adding that some times it has to do with job availability and what the job is paying.

Opportunities Inc., YWCA Mercy Home, St. Vincent de Paul, Volunteers of America, Family Promise and Voices of Hope 2-1-1 are working together to assess each homeless person, determine their needs and connect them to services needed to find them stable housing.

Nationwide, homelessness increased for the first time in seven years, HUD said. HUD and local communities launched a more intense effort to count homeless youth this year, a hard to count population.

The number of homeless youth and children was counted as 80.

Increases are higher in several West Coast cities, where the explosion in homelessness has prompted at least 10 city and county governments to declare states of emergency since 2015.

"We are turning families away", he said.

Excluding these two areas, the estimated number of Veterans experiencing homeless in other parts of the nation decreased 3.1 percent since 2016.

- In Illinois, local communities reported that 10,798 persons experienced homelessness on a single night in 2017, a decrease of 6.8 percent ( or 792 persons ) since previous year and a decrease of 25 percent ( or 3,597 ) since 2010.

- The number of unsheltered homeless individuals in 2017 ( 2,135 ) increased by 21.3 percent from 2016 and by 18.5 percent since 2010. "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".

- Chronic or long-term homelessness among individuals increased 44.6 percent ( or 418 persons ) over 2016 levels and declined by 36.4 percent since 2010.

The report comes as the homelessness population is on the rise on the West Coast.

HUD's national estimate is based upon data reported by approximately 3,000 cities and counties across the nation.

Butler said he was in transitional housing - a type of program that prepares people for permanent homes - for a while but mostly has lived on the streets for the past couple of years.

By comparison, while New York City's homeless population grew to more than 76,000, only about 5 percent are considered unsheltered thanks to a system that can get people a cot under a roof immediately.

- On a single night in January 2017, 864 veterans were experiencing homelessness.

In response to Seattle's growing homelessness crisis, the city declared a state of emergency two years ago-but clearly, the problem is still severe.

HUD's 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress found that nationwide more than 550,000 people experienced homelessness on a single night in 2017.