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The National Alliance to End Homelessness presented a report to Congress yesterday revealing that an estimated 744,000 people in the country are homeless on a given night, according to data compiled by U.S. Housing and Urban Development.

That’s significantly more than the number of beds available in shelters to serve that segment of the population, the report said, leaving 44 percent unsheltered.

When the study was conducted in January 2005, there were an estimated 5,190 homeless people in San Diego County. Of those, 1,249 are in transitional housing, the report shows.

Last Friday, the San Diego Regional Task Force on the Homeless conducted its annual volunteer-driven homeless count, for which data should be released soon. Having a current estimate of the county’s homeless allows various agencies to compete more strongly for federal assistance funding.

Yesterday, county officials released news of the receipt of $5 million in HUD funding for permanent and transitional housing programs for homeless people. The award renews funding for nine existing programs and begins funding for five more among the cities and unincorporated areas in the county, except for the city of San Diego.

HUD also awarded $7.9 million to the city of San Diego to disperse among its homeless services agencies, said Sharon Johnson, the city’s homeless services administrator.

But she said the city’s priority program, for which it asked HUD for $750,000, wasn’t approved for funding. I’m hoping to chat more with Johnson about that later this afternoon. Check back for more details.

KELLY BENNETT

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