The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced Thursday that it has awarded $292,329 in continuum of are grants to five Wyoming homeless housing and service programs.

The grants provide crucial housing and support services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness statewide.

Nationwide, the department has awarded a record $2 billion to more than 7,300 housing and services programs.

"HUD stands with our local partners who are working each and every day to house and serve our most vulnerable neighbors," HUD Secretary Ben Carson said in a statement. "We know how to end homelessness. It starts with embracing a housing-first approach that relies upon proven strategies that offer permanent housing solutions to those who may otherwise be living in our shelters and on our streets."

In December, the department reported an increase in homelessness across the country, particularly among those experiencing long-term chronic homelessness.

On a single night in 2017, the department found that 553,742 people experienced homelessness -- an increase of 0.7 percent over 2016.

Wyoming also saw an increase in homelessness during 2017. Since 2010, homelessness in Wyoming has jumped by over 50 percent.

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