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More of Minnesota's homeless veterans have a place to live

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The number of U.S. veterans who are homeless is down by nearly 50 percent since 2010, the Obama Administration announced Tuesday.

The progress, detailed in a Housing and Urban Development (HUD) report, noted a 17 percent drop in homeless veterans nationwide since last year.

"While we've made remarkable progress toward ending veteran homelessness, we still have work to do to make certain we answer the call of our veterans just as they answered the call of our nation," HUD Secretary Julián Castro said in a news release.

Any veteran who is facing a housing crisis is encouraged to reach out by calling 1-888-LinkVet. For more information on homeless resources in Minnesota, click here.

How is Minnesota doing?

Getting better, by this account at least.

Since 2010, the number of homeless veterans in Minnesota has dropped by 57 percent, a Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs news release says.

In the past year, the number of unsheltered veterans (those living on the street, not in some type of shelter) has dropped by 30 percent, while the total number of homeless veterans is down by 6 percent, a state-by-state breakdown in the HUD report shows.

The report estimates there are 279 veterans without permanent housing – that's 248 living on the street, and 31 who are living in some type of shelter or transitional housing.

Click here to view the full report.

Comparing Minnesota's numbers

This isn't the only count of Minnesota's homeless veterans. The Amherst H. Wilder Foundation collects data on homeless veterans every three years, finding 449 homeless veterans in Minnesota in October 2015, down from 580 in 2012.

"Regardless of the data source, even in the statewide triennial survey we do see the numbers are going down. The good news is we’re making progress on the issue," Senior Research Manager Craig Helmstetter of the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation told BringMeTheNews.

The differences between federal data and the Wilder Foundation's data can be attributed to the different ways the groups collect data, Helmstetter said.

To honor Minnesota – and the nation's – progress, HUD Secretary Julián Castro is in Minnesota Tuesday for the Twin Cities StandDown for Veterans 2016 event. He'll also meet with local veterans, Gov. Mark Dayton and St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman, a news release says.

He will also make an appearance with Rep. Keith Ellison and Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges at the Minneapolis National Night Out neighborhood block party Tuesday night.

What has helped?

The federal report credits the progress to partnerships between HUD, the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness 2010 campaign, as well as various state and local organizations.

In Minnesota, organizations such as the Minnesota Assistance Council for Veterans have provided not only housing, but integration resources and skills training. Helmstetter said the state's effort to compile a list of individual homeless veterans has also helped.

“Approximately four months after we meet a veteran facing homelessness, they have a place to call home," Larry Shellito, the commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Veterans Affairs, said in a news release.

In 2016, HUD and VA awarded nearly $38 million to help more than 5,200 homeless veterans across the nation find a permanent place to call home. In June, U.S. Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar, along with Rep. Rick Nolan, announced new funding to help end veteran homelessness in Minnesota.

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