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Homelessness in Iowa Decreased Slightly in 2018

IOWA — Homelessness in Iowa decreased 0.3 percent in 2018, according to a report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

HUD’s 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress found that 2,749 Iowans were homeless on a single night in 2018. This was a 0.3 percent decrease from 2017.

Families and children experiencing homelessness declined nearly 15 percent across Iowa since last year.

In total, 2,508 homeless Iowans were unsheltered while 241 persons were in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs during the night the numbers were recorded. The 2,749 homeless individuals in Iowa is an 8.8 percent decline since 2010.

However, the report found some parts of the population experienced an increase in homelessness. Homelessness among Iowa’s veterans rose 14.6 percent  to 196 total. The number of homeless veterans increased this year, but according to HUD, veteran homelessness in Iowa has decreased by 11.3 percent since 2010.

Long-term homelessness among individuals also increased by 8.4 percent or 25 individuals since 2017.

HUD’s estimates are based in part on data reported on a single night each year. On a night in January, planning agencies and volunteers identify the number of individuals and families living in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs and in unsheltered settings. The one night they do this each year provides a “snapshot” count of the number of homeless people in Iowa and across the United States. HUD also uses data from other sources such as the U.S. Housing Survey and the Department of Education to determine the scope of homelessness in the state.

“Our state and local partners are increasingly focused on finding lasting solutions to homelessness even as they struggle against the headwinds of rising rents,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “Much progress is being made and much work remains to be done but I have great hope that communities all across our nation are intent on preventing and ending homelessness.”

“Communities across the country are getting better and better at making sure that people exit homelessness quickly through Housing First approaches,” said Matthew Doherty, executive director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. “We know, however, that a lack of housing that people can afford is the fundamental obstacle to making further progress in many communities.”

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