The number of homeless people living in Minnesota dropped for the first time in 10 years.
The Wilder Foundation, which conducts a one-night statewide survey of homeless people in Minnesota every three years, found there were 9,312 people without homes in the state on Oct. 22, 2015.
That's a 9 percent decrease from the last study, done in 2012, and the first decrease since 2006, when there were 7,751 homeless people in the state, according to results released Monday.
"The results are encouraging and suggest that Minnesota's efforts to reduce and eliminate homelessness are paying off. But we have still not shaken the impact of the last decade's Great Recession on this population," Michelle Gerrard, co-director of the study, said, according to the Wilder Foundation.
Homelessness by age group
The count found the number of children and families who experience homelessness has decreased by 7 percent and 12 percent, respectively.
However, families still represent 35 percent of the state's overall homeless population – and are still the most likely group to be homeless. (See table below.)
Unaccompanied minors under the age of 18 saw the largest increase of any other group, up 46 percent between 2012 and 2015.
But the Wilder Foundation says that age group is the least visible and hardest to count, noting the large increase could be attributed to better identification through various outreach programs.
The number of homeless adults, ages 22-54, decreased by 13 percent since 2012, while the number of homeless adults 55 and older (the group least likely to be homeless) increased by 8 percent.
Here's a breakdown of homelessness by age and region:
For more detailed data from the 2015 count, or previous years, click here.
The Wilder Foundation says these numbers reflect how many people were found and talked to on the night of the study and should be considered a "minimum," noting many homeless people outside the shelter system aren't found on the night of the study – especially in rural Minnesota.
The 2012 study, which counted 10,214 homeless Minnesotans, estimated more than 14,000 people are homeless in Minnesota on any given night. The Wilder Foundation plans to release estimates on the total homeless population for 2015 when it completes additional analysis in the coming months.
Homeless advocates head to the Capitol
Tuesday marks Homeless Day on the Hill, an effort coordinated by the Minnesota Coalition for the Homeless, which gives people the opportunity to learn about advocacy and lobbying, as well as issues of affordable housing and preventing homelessness, the Wilder Foundation notes.