April 23, 2014

Missouri homeless numbers up (AUDIO)

A federal study says Missouri’s homeless rate is up almost 14% in the last year.

The federal housing agency takes what is called a “Point in Time” count each January.  Regional offices are releasing numbers showing Missouri had 10,237 homeless people in this year’s count, up more than 1200 from 2011. 

The Deputy Regional Administrator in the Kansas City-area office, Theresa Porter,  says some categories have shown good decreases–chronically homeless, down about 22 percent; unaccompanied youth dropped by about 31 percent.

But those drops are offset by increases in other categories, such as the 5.2% increase of in homeless veterans and an increase in homeless victims of domestic violence: 19.1%.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development provides grants to more than 100  agencies throughout the state.  Porter says there is a large number of faith-based  groups and churches serving the homeless that don’t get federal funding.

Porter says it’s important that homeless Missourians be unafraid to ask for help.  She says it’s as close as a 2-1-1 phone call.  And information also is available on the agency’s website, hud.gov, which has state-by-state listings of homeless shelters. 

AUDIO: Porter interview 14:20