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More Homeless In KC Area

Kansas City, MO – The number of homeless in greater Kansas City has increased just slightly in the past year, and fewer homeless people are seeking social services, according to the Homeless Services Coalition.

Homeless Services Coalition Executive Director Brian O'Malley reports that 13,600 homeless people sought social services in 2009, a 2% decrease from last year. But 50% report being homeless for the first time, and O'Malley believes Kansas City is falling behind other cities in dealing with homelessness.

"The city of Kansas City is not knocking down the numbers of homeless percentages the way some communities are," O'Malley said. "Chicago, for instance, they have fewer homeless than we do, which I think would surprise a lot of people to learn that."

The federal department of Housing and Urban Development funds the Continuum of Care grant, which is the primary source of funding for 61 local social service agencies. The coalition is requesting about 4 million dollars.

As a health care reporter, I aim to empower my audience to take steps to improve health care and make informed decisions as consumers and voters. I tell human stories augmented with research and data to explain how our health care system works and sometimes fails us. Email me at alexs@kcur.org.
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