U.S. reports drop in homelessness nationally

While Traverse City faces issues with the city's homeless population, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says the nation has seen a slight decline in homelessness across the country.

According to HUD, on a single night last January, 633,782 people were homeless in the United States. That number was largely the same as the year prior.

Meanwhile, HUD says local homeless housing and service providers in Michigan reported that the number of sheltered and unsheltered homeless people declined by 4.5 percent between 2011 and 2012.

Five states accounted for nearly half of the nation's homeless population in 2012. Those states are California (20.7 percent), New York (11 percent). Florida (8.7 percent), Texas (5.4 percent), and Georgia (3.2 percent).

According to the study, the total number of homeless people in Michigan declined from 13,185 to 12,592, as did what is considered "chronically homeless". Homeless veterans, however, rose in the last year from 959 to 1,017.

"We must re-double our efforts to target our resources more effectively to help those at greatest risk," HUD Secretary Donovan said. "As our nation's economic recovery takes hold, we will make certain that our homeless veterans and those living on our streets find stable housing so they can get on their path to recovery."

This news comes amidst a heated discussion among Traverse City residents about the homeless population in their city.

Concerned citizens spoke out at a Traverse City Commission meeting last night about a group of homeless people who are causing problems by pan-handling and acting rowdy in the city.

Several suggestions have been made to curb the problem, including building a wet house or establishing a homeless county.

Mayor Michael Estes has asked a committee to work with area leaders to find a solution.