Officials: Minnesota sees success in fight against homelessness

State officials say there are significantly fewer people sleeping on the streets and in shelters this year thanks to an improving economy and state policies to aid people in need.

This year's count put the total homeless in Minnesota at just over 7,500, down 10 percent from 2014, members of the Minnesota Interagency Council on Homelessness said Friday.

It was the first decrease in Minnesota since 2011, said Cathy ten Broeke who directs the state's Office to Prevent and End Homelessness.

Homelessness among families with children dropped by 17 percent, she added, although 942 people under age 25 were homeless, including 145 minors who were on their own.

"We have a long way to go before we will have the results we want for all people experiencing homelessness across this state. But I am very happy to report that due to the incredible work of many there are over 800 fewer people sleeping on our streets and in our shelters than one year ago," ten Broeke said.

Targeted programs, such as those that help homeless people find jobs, are making a difference together with the improving economy, said Minnesota Housing Commissioner Mary Tingerthal.

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