Homelessness in Wyoming Increasing

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Cheyenne, Wyo. - Despite a downward trend across the country, a new report shows homelessness in Wyoming is increasing.

In 2017, data from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) show Wyoming’s homeless population increased by 1.9%. The 873 homeless people represent 15 of every 10,000 residents; and data shows that to be a 50.8% increase since 2010.

Of those, 622 are single individuals, 251 have families with kids, 62 are unaccompanied youth without families, 63 are U.S. veterans, and 14 of those are listed as being chronically homeless.

HUD’s national numbers show a great deal of variation in different parts of the country; however, many places continue to see reductions in homelessness. Thirty states and the District of Columbia reported decreases in homelessness between 2016 and 2017.

HUD’s 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress found that 553,742 persons experienced homelessness on a single night in 2017, an increase of .7 percent since last year. Homelessness among families with children declined 5.4 percent nationwide since 2016, local communities report the number of persons experiencing long-term chronic homelessness and Veterans increased.

“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,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “This is not a federal problem—it’s everybody’s problem.”

Key Findings of HUD’s 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report:
On a single night in January 2017, state and local planning agencies (Continuums of Care) reported:
553,742 people were homeless representing an overall .7 percent increase from 2016 and a 13.1 percent decrease since 2010.
Most homeless persons (360,867) were located in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs while 192,875 persons were unsheltered.
The number of families with children experiencing homelessness declined 5.4 percent since 2016 and 27 percent since 2010.
Veteran homelessness increased 1.5 percent (or 585 persons) since January 2016, primarily in California cities. Since 2010, however, Veteran homelessness declined nationally by 46 percent. On a single night in January 2017, 40,056 veterans were experiencing homelessness.
Chronic or long-term homelessness among individuals increased 12.2 percent over 2016 levels though declined by 18 percent (or 19,100 persons) since 2010.
The number of unaccompanied homeless youth and children in 2017 is estimated to be 40,799. 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.

Homelessness Among All Persons
The total number of persons experiencing homelessness on a single night last January is 553,742, an increase of 0.7 percent from January 2016 largely attributed to the jump in unsheltered homelessness in larger cities in the West Coast.

Family Homelessness
There were 58,000 families with children experiencing homelessness on a single night in 2017, a decline of 5.4 percent from the year before and a 27 percent reduction since 2010. These significant reductions in family homelessness is largely attributed to the expansion of Rapid Rehousing Programs across the country and a concerted effort by local planners to reallocate scarce resources in a more strategic way. These ‘Housing First’ models have proven to be a more effective and efficient response to families experiencing temporary crisis as well as those enduring the most chronic forms of homelessness.

Veteran Homelessness
Local communities reported a total of 40,056 Veterans experiencing homelessness in January of 2017, an increase of 1.5 percent since 2016, primarily in the City of Los Angeles and Los Angeles County. Excluding this area, the national homelessness estimate among Veterans decreased 3.2 percent since 2016. However, as a consequence of intense planning and targeted intervention, homelessness among Veterans has been reduced 46 percent since 2010, prompting a number of States and local communities to declare an effective end to Veteran homelessness in their areas (read more). This decline is largely attributed to the close collaboration between HUD and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). For example, since 2010, more than 480,000 veterans and their family members have been permanently housed, rapidly rehoused, or prevented from falling into homelessness through HUD’s targeted housing vouchers and VA’s homelessness programs.

Chronic Homelessness
Long-term or chronic homelessness among individuals with disabilities declined 18 percent since 2010. This reduction is due in part to a concerted effort to make available more permanent supportive housing opportunities for people with disabling health conditions who otherwise continually cycle through local shelters or the streets. Research demonstrates that for those experiencing chronic homelessness, providing permanent housing, coupled with appropriate low-barrier supportive services, is the most effective solution for ending homelessness. This ‘housing first’ approach also saves the taxpayer considerable money by interrupting a costly cycle of emergency room and hospital, detox, and even jail visits.