Austin
8:06 am
Tue February 5, 2013

Travis County Homeless Population Dropping

The annual Austin/Travis County homeless count shows the number of homeless people living the area is down by 5.5 percent from last year to 2,121.

The Ending Community Homelessness Coalition or “ECHO” conducted the count late last month.

The count determines the level of federal funding the area will receive and helps community organizations determine which services need to be improved.

The count breaks down the numbers between sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals. This year's count found the unsheltered homeless population decreased by 12 percent to 765 people.

Another success highlighted by the count is the decreasing population of homeless veterans. Last year, 353 of the homeless people counted were veterans. This year, that number went down by more than 17 percent to 292. ECHO credits the decrease, in part, to a Veterans Administration program that provides housing vouchers and services to eligible vets.

Still, ECHO says there's an 'urgent' need for more housing and shelter, especially for women and children.