Homeless population shows a slight dip
It looks like the city is seeing a decrease in numbers in the nationwide homelessness epidemic.
Partners Ending Homelessness released the numbers this week from its annual point-in-time count. The agency is a collaborative partnership that includes more than 80 community partners that work to generate housing, strengthen prevention and supportive service efforts, and increase coordination, collaboration and access to services for the homeless.
The results show the total number of those experiencing homelessness in High Point has decreased to 268 from last year’s 301. The number of sheltered individuals has gone up from 225 to 232. The biggest decline was the number of unsheltered homeless individuals. In 2012, the count found 76 people homeless and not living in shelters. This year, the count only found 36.
“In the last few years, we have housed 54 people, 46 of those people are still housed somewhere,” said Steve Key, executive director at Open Door Ministries. “We have been really working on this, and it is hard to look at some of these numbers and think that we have that many more people that need to be housed. The thing that strikes me is that the job is not done. There are still a lot more people out there that we need to work with. The job is to get people into permanent housing.”
This year the count found 42 people, compared to last year’s 21, suffering with chronic homelessness, and 18 domestic violence victims, compared to last year’s 34 victims. The number of homeless families has decreased only slightly, from 13 to 12. The number of homeless veterans decreased slightly, from 45 to 41.
The number of people becoming homeless after being discharged or released from a correctional or health facility also showed some movement. The number of people released from the criminal justice facilities decreased from 21 to 14, while the number of people who were released from behavioral health facilities increased from 10 to 17. Those being released from hospitals also showed a decline from 12 to nine.
The count included information obtained from Guilford County Schools that showed the number of students experiencing homelessness. The number has increased from last year’s count of 422 to 471. This number includes those students that are living with family and friends.
“Though the numbers still remain high, and many factors influencing these numbers remain out of the homeless service system’s control, there are some bright spots in this data,” said Darryl Kosciak, executive director of Partners Ending Homelessness. “The overall decrease is a result of individuals and families working to overcome terribly difficult circumstances, our partner agencies working incredibly hard to ensure people are accessing permanent housing, and a small increase in the number of vouchers and housing units available for persons experiencing homelessness.”
Another significant decrease was found in the number of disabled homeless in High Point. In the 2012 point-in-time count, there were 97 homeless people with a diagnosed serious mental illness, 195 with a substance abuse disorder and 14 living with HIV or AIDS. This year, the count found only 16 with a diagnosed serious mental illness, 157 with a substance abuse disorder and 2 living with HIV and AIDS.
For more information, visit partnersendinghomelessness.org.
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Point in Time
The Point-In-Time Count serves to illustrate what homelessness looks like in Guilford County on any given day. It is used as a snapshot that can be compared to numbers collected during a similar time frame in previous years. The 2013 count found 949 homeless individuals in Guilford County compared to 1,005 individuals in 2012.
Countywide, the count showed a systemwide 6 percent decrease of persons experiencing homelessness on any given night, a 60-person increase in chronic homelessness to 141, and a 26-person decrease in veterans experiencing homelessness to 78.