Homeless rate steady in latest government estimate

WASHINGTON (AP) - The latest count finds the number of homeless people stayed about the same between January 2011 and January 2012, with a drop in the number of veterans with no place to live and an increase among families.

The Housing and Urban Development Department says the sluggish economy has somewhat countered a vigorous effort to house the homeless, who now number 633,782, compared with the 636,000 a year ago.

The percentage of homeless veterans as well as those homeless for more than a year each dropped by about 7 percent. Agencies are focusing their dollars on getting the long-term homeless into permanent housing and then providing them with support services.

The Obama administration has set of goal of eliminating veterans' homelessness and chronic homelessness by the end of 2015.

Advocates welcome the numbers, but say they show there's still a long way to go.

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