Dionne Walker's piece for the magazine focuses on the efforts in the city of Atlanta, as they try to join other cities in the U.S. that have cut homelessness in half in recent years.
The economy is hitting all sectors hard. When your goal is eroding a phenomenon directly linked to poverty, however, a crisis this deep delivers an extra gut punch.
"We're sort of holding our breath," says Steve Berg, with the National Alliance to End Homelessness, a leader in forming the anti-homelessness plans.
"Despite the good work a lot of these communities have done with their 10-year plans, we're probably going to have a time when there's more pressure on homelessness."
Five years ago, Philip Mangano, executive director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, got fed up with homeless numbers that had risen for decades.
"How many homeless people (there were), where they came from, how long they stayed homeless, what were the initiatives that actually worked to reduce homelessness -- we didn't know," Mangano says. "We were groping in the dark."
So he urged 100 mayors in 2003 to formulate plans to end homelessness within a decade. They would focus on the chronic homeless, defined as those with a disabling condition experiencing long-term or multiple instances of homelessness and who, activists say, suck up half of available resources.
Leaders would measure progress through benchmarks of people staying off the streets, rather than shelter beds filled. Regions began adopting a strategy placing homeless into their own apartments, then offering help, rather than vice versa.
Immediate housing calms some of the most troubled clients, according to the National Alliance, and double-digit drops in homelessness reported in Chicago, Denver, New York and Norfolk, Va., among other cities, seem to back them up.
"We have some remarkable accomplishments here," says New York Homeless Services Commissioner Robert Hess, pointing to a 25 percent reduction in street homeless since 2005.
Mangano says more than 50,000 units of housing targeting the homeless have been created over the past five years; the goal is 150,000 units by 2014.