Homelessness nationwide declining overall; problems in West

Tents used by the homeless line a downtown Los Angeles street with the skyline behind Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2015. Los Angeles officials say they will declare a state of emergency on homelessness and propose spending $100 million to reduce the number of people living on city streets. City Council President Herb Wesson, members of the council's Homelessness and Poverty Committee and Mayor Eric Garcetti announced the plan Tuesday outside City Hall, as homeless people dozed nearby on a lawn.(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

WASHINGTON (AP) – Homelessness is declining overall in the U.S., according to new data from the federal government.

But there are cities and states where homelessness is on the rise.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development said Thursday many cities in the West are struggling with homelessness. They say a lack of affordable housing and growing problems with opioid addiction are contributing to the problem.

Nationwide, veteran homelessness has decreased dramatically in the last several years. Officials credit a program initiated by President Barack Obama urging communities to have a plan in place to prevent and reduce homelessness.

They hope communities apply what they’ve learned helping veterans to other groups with high rates of homelessness.

The federal government releases the numbers after volunteers across the country count homeless people in their local areas.

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