California’s homeless number drops a little as programs appear to pay off

Investing billions of dollars in affordable housing and homeless programs in recent years has apparently put the brakes on what had been a surge in California’s homeless population, causing it to dip by 1 percent this year, a federal report released Monday showed.

The decline was in sharp contrast to the 2017 statewide count, when California’s homeless population rose 14 percent as part of an increase along the West Coast, the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development reported in its annual national homeless assessment.

The report put California’s homeless population this year at 129,972, a drop of 1,560 in the number of people on the streets in 2017. The dip represents the largest decrease in absolute numbers for any state, but then again, California has the nation’s largest homeless population — and the largest overall population.

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