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Homelessness in Montana increased by 16% in 2021

Estimates of Sheltered Family Homelessness by State, 2021
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
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Estimates of Sheltered Family Homelessness by State, 2021

The number of people who experienced homelessness in Montana last year increased by 16% when compared to the previous year.

The federal housing department said more than 1,100 people in the state used emergency shelters, transitional housing or other temporary settings.

The data is based on a two-part survey taken in January. The first part consists of people using homeless shelters, the second is a count of people who are unsheltered.

Due to COVID-19, the department last year didn’t require a count of unsheltered people in its report, likely resulting in an under count.

Across the country, more than 326,000 experienced homelessness during 2021. While homelessness in Montana increased during the survey period, the federal housing department says homelessness across the country decreased 8% from the prior year.

Freddy Monares is a reporter and Morning Edition host at Montana Public Radio.