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Homelessness Among Ohio Veterans Dropped 10% This Year

A tent at a homeless encampment in Columbus.
Adora Namigadde
A tent at a homeless encampment in Columbus.

The number of veterans experiencing homelessness in Ohio decreased by nearly 10% since last year. 

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has tracked the numbers since 2010. In 2018, they estimated nearly 749 veterans in Ohio were without a home. This year that number dropped to 676.

HUD spokeswoman Gina Rodriguez says a few programs are behind the decrease. She points to a previous policy where veterans had to solve their alcohol or drug problems before they could get shelter.

"And now the strategy has shifted to housing first and then we'll address the other issues that are typical, mainly mental health and substance abuse issues, at the same time," she says.

HUD estimates an even more dramatic drop of veteran homelessness in the long-term in Ohio—a decline of more than half since 2010. 

"Nationally, the decline was nearly 49% since 2010 when they began tracking this, where in Ohio, it's 55%," she says. "So Ohio is actually doing better than average."

Copyright 2019 WOSU 89.7 NPR News

Clare Roth