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Nationwide, Homelessness Plunged Under Obama

Veteran homelessness in particular could soon be a thing of the past, unless the Trump administration and Republican Congress reverse course.
President Barack Obama and the first family serving Thanksgiving dinner at a church homeless center in Washington, D.C., in 2015.
President Barack Obama and the first family serving Thanksgiving dinner at a church homeless center in Washington, D.C., in 2015.Carlos Barria/Reuters

On a single night in January 2016, more than half a million people across the U.S. were homeless. That number is large (549,928 people) but it has declined substantially since 2010, when the Obama administration introduced Opening Doors, the nation’s first strategic federal plan to solve homelessness. The plan appears to be working.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development just released its 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, which breaks down the results of a nationwide point-in-time estimate conducted in January. Agencies in some 3,000 cities counted individuals and families living in shelters, temporary housing, or outside shelters or housing.