Tester responds to federal homelessness report

by NBC Montana, Darren Winberg

MISSOULA,Mont. – Homelessness is on the decline in most cities across the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The annual report found that 553,742 persons experienced homelessness on a single night in 2017, an increase of .7 percent since last year.

Sen. Jon Tester replied to the report with an email to HUD Secretary Ben Carson. In the email he stated Montana homelessness is on the rise. Tester criticized the department’s attempt to eliminate homeless initiatives and wants more affordable housing resources for Montana families, seniors and veterans.

The email said homelessness in Montana has increased by nearly 8 percent over the past year.
A homeless man we talked to says he can understand these statistics, as he has been homeless since he was 16.

“Once people start opening their eyes and realizing we aren’t just homeless, but we’re human beings just like everyone else, and instead of walking around like you’re going to catch a disease off us, why kick us when we’re down, hold your hand out and help us out,” he said.

Tester met with Carson in Montana back in August to highlight the need for more affordable housing.