Ranks of homeless decrease 14%: poll

Kyodo

The number of homeless people nationwide stood at 8,265 as of January, down 13.7 percent from a year earlier, the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry said.

The decline reported Friday was attributable to an increase in the number of people receiving welfare benefits and positive local government efforts, such as the provision of counseling, a ministry official said.

Of the total, 7,671 people, or 93 percent, were men, and 254 were women, the ministry said. The gender of 340 was not known.

By prefecture, Osaka had the largest homeless population at 2,094, followed by Tokyo with 2,006 and Kanagawa with 1,395. More than 70 percent of the total were found in urban areas, with the city of Osaka hosting the highest number of homeless people at 1,909.