Housing officials said the declining population of homeless people could be credited in part to a $1.5 billion infusion of federal stimulus money. As part of the stimulus-financed Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program, local governments identified vulnerable people and intervened to stop them from becoming homeless by helping them find and pay for new places to live, for instance. That program prevented or ended homelessness for more than one million people, the housing agency estimates.
HUD and its partners also increased the number of available beds in emergency shelters by about 15 percent over five years, and the number of beds in longer term housing by nearly 50 percent.
But with emergency stimulus financing at its end, experts worry that homelessness might increase for some vulnerable groups in the coming year. Ms. Roman, for instance, predicted that the end of the rapid rehousing program might result in more family homelessness in 2013.
Housing officials said they had invested in research and data analysis to learn how to use their resources more efficiently. “There’s always a start-up period where we’re trying to learn what works, and trying to understand the best and most effective uses of our resources,” said Ann Oliva, the acting deputy assistant housing secretary for special needs. “We know what we need to do now and between 2015 to get to zero.”
Some analysts say the large federal expansion of Medicaid coming in 2014 might help reduce homelessness. States that join the Medicaid expansion — with the federal government chipping in $9 for every $1 the state spends — will be required to provide coverage to all adults whose income is up to 33 percent higher than the poverty line. Many states do not provide Medicaid to childless adults now, no matter how poor.
Mark Johnston, the acting assistant housing secretary for community planning and development, estimated that homelessness could be effectively eradicated in the United States at an annual cost of about $20 billion. The housing department’s budget for addressing homelessness is currently about $1.9 billion.
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO. -- Colorado Springs Police officers said a homeless man who was beaten at a park Sept. 13 died Thursday at the hospital.
According to officers, 47-year-old John Carlos Martinez was hit repeatedly around 11 p.m. Sept. 13 while he was sleeping on the playground at Dorchester Park in the city. A person reported the assault the next day.
Martinez was taken to the hospital with severe injuries but survived nine days before dying around 1:35 p.m. Thursday.