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State leaders have significant flexibility in designing and implementing plans to address chronic homelessness within their borders. Chronic, or long-term, homelessness is one of three critical characterizations of the nation’s homeless population; the other two are temporary and episodic homelessness. Recently, federal and state policymakers have focused more attention on the disproportionate consumption of resources by people in the chronic subgroup. Chronically homeless people make up only 10 percent of the homeless population, but as a group, they consume as much as 50 percent of the shelter system’s resources. Both federal and state entities are devising new strategies to address and reduce chronic homelessness in America today.

This issue brief provides states with important information about the chronically homeless population and highlights examples from states that have been particularly innovative and successful in their efforts to combat it. (NGA)
Brief
2007
Washington, D.C.
202-624-5300
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A program of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services