Report says fewer people living on street in Hennepin Countyby Matt Sepic, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Fewer people are living on the streets in Hennepin County, shows a report out Wednesday.
The Office to End Homelessness, advocates for the homeless, says there are 40 percent fewer people living on the streets. A count one night in January found 204 people sleeping outside. That's down from 341 in 2010.
The report also found a third fewer homeless veterans living in Hennepin County.
However, the overall number of homeless people, including those living in shelters, rose slightly, said Cathy ten Broeke, who heads the Office to End Homelessness for Minneapolis and Hennepin County.
She said the tough economy and lack of affordable housing remain the biggest challenges to getting people off the streets.
"When police get a call about homelessness, they send that call to the outreach team. They respond to the person in need. They're armed with information," ten Broeke said." But they're also armed with housing resources."
However, coordinated outreach efforts are working.
"Now what we're experiencing is a very tight rental vacancy market," ten Broeke said. "We've really had to double and triple our prevention efforts to keep more people from falling into homelessness in this kind of an economy."