Houston, Texas Reduces Homelessness By 50% In 4 Years!

The city aims to end all chronic homelessness by the end of 2015.

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Credit: Flickr / Garry Knight

While it is estimated over 100 million people worldwide are homeless and as many as 1 billion people lacked adequate housing, the city of Houston, Texas has impressively reduced its rate of street-bound citizens by 50% in only four years, with homeless advocates pushing to bring the number to zero.

“We have truly gone from managing homelessness to ending homelessness,” said Marilyn Brown, CEO of the Coalition for the Homeless of Houston/Harris County in a statement. “We are just getting our second wind.”

As reported by Essence, the city of Houston has taken grand steps to alleviate the condition, including a plan in 2012 that added more than 250 new available housing units. More than 1,000 additional units are planned, and the number of homeless shelters has also increased. The efforts have delivered housing to more than 3,600 homeless veterans.

Houston’s efforts are similar to those being carried out in Utah. The state recognized it could save money  by offering free housing – no strings attached – to those without, rather than fund jail stays and E.R. visits, therefore began ending homelessness by giving people homes. You can read about that here.

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The Coalition reports that the number of homeless individuals has dropped from 8,538 in 2011 to 4,609 in 2015 – a 46% decrease! But the good news doesn’t end there: the city is ambitious to end all chronic homelessness by the end of 2015; chronic homelessness defined as being without a home for a year or without housing four times in three years, often coupled with disability.

Leaders in Houston also believe they are within reach of ending youth and family homelessness in Houston by 2020.

“The success driving those numbers down proves that as a community, we can end homelessness in our region,” Tom McCasland, Harris County Housing Authority CEO, told the Houston Chronicle. “We’re making progress. We’re moving the needle in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go.”

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