By RCAC staffo-HAPPY-HOMELESS-facebook

Utah’s homeless advocates are celebrating a milestone in the fight to keep residents housed. During the past 10 years, the state’s chronically homeless population dropped from 2,000 to less than 200.

According to NPR’s All Things Considered, chronically homeless are the most vulnerable amongst the homeless population. People are considered chronically homeless if they have been on the streets for more than a year or more than four times in the past three years; they also suffer from “disabling conditions” such as mental or physical illness or addiction. Chronically homeless make up 20 percent of the United States’ total homeless population.

Utah’s success is attributed to the Housing First model, which focuses on housing the chronic homeless first and then provide them with services needed. Other keys to Utah’s Housing First success include: the state’s total population is low; the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints supported the program; homeless advocates and agencies know and cooperate with each other; and the director of Utah’s Homeless Task Force, Lloyd Pendleton, championed the program and took it statewide.

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