- Associated Press - Friday, December 8, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - A federal report shows that Oklahoma has seen an increase in homelessness for the second year in a row, particularly in families with children.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress was released Thursday, The Oklahoman reported .

The report tallied nearly 4,200 homeless people on a single night in January, with a nearly 24 percent increase in homeless families with children compared to the previous year.

The increase is spurred by a lack of affordable housing and federal funds, said Dan Straughan, executive director of the nonprofit Homeless Alliance.

“If you have the same amount of money to spread against much higher rents, it doesn’t go as far,” Straughan said.

Homelessness can be a particularly tough situation for families because of the impact that experience has on children, he said.

“It’s troubling, largely because being homeless can be especially traumatic for kids and have really long-lasting effects with educational attainment and health and behavioral issues long after you get them housed,” Straughan said.

The report says that despite the overall increase, the state has seen improvements in housing homeless veterans and chronically homeless people.

The state’s population of homeless veterans decreased from about 360 in 2016 to about 350 this year. Those who have been homeless for more than a year or who have had four or more episodes of homelessness in a year are considered to be chronically homeless. The state’s population of chronically homeless fell from about 700 in 2016 to 660 this year, records show.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com

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