This week, some Mississippians are bringing awareness to the state's homeless population. It's part of National Homeless Persons' Memorial Day. MPB's Ashley Norwood reports.
Homelessness in Mississippi is declining. On a single night in January, homeless agency volunteers across the state reported 1,472 people homeless. According to a recent report by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, that's a 15 percent decline since 2016.
Mary Simons is with the Open Doors Homeless Coalition. She says there's a reason for the decline.
"There are more resources in the state of Mississippi than ever before. Those resources are targeted toward literally moving people into housing and continuing to ensure those people have the services they need to stay in that housing," said Simons.
Ledgar Parker is with Mississippi United to End Homelessness. He says the hardest population to count are those who are not living in shelters or temporary housing.
"Hundreds if not thousands of volunteers across the state of Mississippi go out on the last 10 days of January. They rest for one 24 hour period and they try to count every homeless person out there," says Parker.
The National Coalition for the Homeless reports there is no national decline in homelessness. Megan Hustings with the coalition says the number of persons without shelter are increasing and have the greatest risk of dying.
"People on the streets die of preventable health conditions by living on the streets. In fact, the average lifespan of someone living on the street is 10, 15 and sometimes 20 years younger than someone who's housed," said Hustings.
According to the report, Veteran homelessness in Mississippi decreased 60 percent since 2016.