People walk by a homeless man in San Francisco
People walk by a homeless man in San Francisco - 


Doug Krizner: Chronic homelessness is on the decline. That's according to a report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. HUD says the number of people living on the streets for long periods fell by almost 12 percent last year. Amy Scott has more.

Amy Scott: HUD says about 20,000 fewer people were chronically homeless last year than the year before. Chronic homelessness refers to people with disabilities or mental illness, who spend long periods of time without permanent housing.

Brian Sullivan is a HUD spokesman:

Brian Sullivan: There's an awful lot of work to do. But we've got to move in the right direction, and this data says that we are.

Sullivan credits a push to build more permanent housing for the disabled. The chronically homeless are mostly single adults.

Michael Stoops with the National Coalition for the Homeless says HUD should pay more attention to families. They make up more than 40 percent of the homeless population overall.

Michael Stoops: I like the fact that we're talking about ending homelessness. But let's end not just chronic homelessness, but homelessness for everybody.

HUD's Brian Sullivan says helping the chronically homeless will free up services and shelter for others. He says they account for just 20 percent of all homeless people, but use most of the resources.

In New York, I'm Amy Scott for Marketplace.

Follow Amy Scott at @amyreports