PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Homeless advocates say a slowly recovering economy and state programs are responsible for a 9 percent drop in the number of homeless people in Rhode Island.

The Rhode Island Coalition for the Homeless announced the newest statistics Wednesday during a Statehouse event.

Some 4,447 people stayed in a homeless shelter or transitional housing at least one night in 2013, down from 4,868 in 2012. The number of homeless children, families and veterans also declined.

Providence College professor Eric Hirsch, who released the statistics, says the economy and housing programs are behind the positive trend.

State Rep. Scott Slater says the decline is cause for celebration but he added that the state must continue to support initiatives such as rental vouchers to reduce the number even further.