DENVER (KDVR) — Chronic homelessness is a growing problem in Colorado.
The number of people experiencing chronic homelessness in the state has jumped 266% since 2007, according to a new federal report.
That’s the biggest percentage change in the entire U.S. Only Nevada comes close in second, seeing its numbers jump nearly 261% in the same timeframe.
In Colorado, the growth accounts for nearly 1,100 more people counted in shelters who met the criteria for chronic homelessness: They have a disability and had been homeless for at least a year in the three years prior.
That includes people with physical illnesses like cancer or diabetes, as well as those suffering from mental illness or drug or alcohol addiction.
There are fewer people in shelters overall, but more of those people have been homeless for longer, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development found.
“While the overall sheltered individual population has declined, the number of chronically homeless individuals staying in shelter programs has increased in recent years and especially between 2020 and 2021,” HUD said.
Colorado is among the five states where more than half of all sheltered chronically homeless people in the U.S. were counted last year. The state ranked fifth, with 3% of the nationwide population.
Last year saw the biggest jump in chronic homeless on record. There were 7,235 more in shelters than the year before.
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