Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Point in Time

So here we go with the statistics again. The "Point in Time" process makes an extraordinary effort to count all sheltered and non-sheltered homeless persons on a single night in January. This count is combined with the one year homeless estimates provided by local HMIS (Homeless Management Information Systems). The 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress is the result and has just been published.  You can read it if you want - it's a little over 200 pages.

I haven't read every word and I'm just guessing that most of you won't either.  I thought I'd share just a few points that I skimmed from the report.

The number of homeless persons increased by 1.1% over 2009.  That might not sound like much unless you're one of the 7,000 new additions. This year, there were nearly 650,000 homeless people on this one night in January.  Did they miss any?  Well, it's a little more difficult to count those who couch hop since they're not living in shelters and they won't be found under bridges. But then, this is always a problem when looking for any kind of accurate count.

The number of homeless families increased by 1.2% and the number of people IN those families increased by 1.6%.   About 80% of the 242,000 people in families were sheltered leaving over 50,000 without a roof over their heads on the night of the count.

Families in Shelters:  59.3% of the total number were children under the age of 18 living with adults (9% adult males / 31.7% adult females).  Most of these families are headed by adults still under the age of 30.

27% of homeless people were in families of 3 or more.

On average, about 2/3 of homelessness occurs in major cities.  A notable exception is homeless families.  In this case, the numbers show that 41.4% live in suburban and rural areas.

Homelessness occurs everywhere:  There are 3 states where the percentage of homeless persons is over 6%.  4 of our states show averages between 3 and 6%. 19 states show percentages between 1 and 2.9% with the remaining 24 states less than 1%.  California, Florida and New York account for 40% of the US homeless population.

29 - The medium number of days that persons in families spent in emergency shelters during 2010.

Clearly, the problem isn't going away.  Clearly we need to do more - especially when it comes to children and families.  Responsible Referrals is trying to do its part - you can help. 

We learned things during the past three months. As a result, some exciting changes in programming will be announced soon.  Stay tuned!

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