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Health, Science, Environment

Homeless numbers drop in Missouri; remain unchanged in St. Louis area

Volunteers led by the St. Patrick Center look for homeless people during the Point In Time Count in the city of St. Louis in January 2015.
Camille Phillips | St. Louis Public Radio
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Volunteers led by the St. Patrick Center look for homeless people during the Point In Time Count in the city of St. Louis in January 2015.

New homeless numbers are out and they paint an improving picture for the state of Missouri. 

According to the annual homelessness report released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, homelessness dropped by 11 percent in Missouri this year, but it has not yet returned to pre-recession numbers. Meanwhile, homelessness in the United States dropped by 2 percent this year, continuing a slow but steady decline stretching back to 2007.

The homeless population for St. Louis City and County is largely unchanged from 2014, averaging about 1,750 people both years.

Between 2007 and 2015, the city has fluctuated between a high of 1,506 in 2012 and a low of 1,305 in 2010. The January homeless count in St. Louis County has ranged between a 2007 low of 336 and a 2011 high of 657.

The numbers come from a yearly count conducted by volunteers and local officials on a single night in January, known as the Point-In-Time count, or PIT. The PIT count is a requirement of receiving federal support from HUD to combat homelessness. Its accuracy is dependent on the number of volunteers who participate, as well as their knowledge of the habits of homeless individuals who don’t make use of shelters.

Follow Camille Phillips on Twitter: @cmpcamille.

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