Louisville’s Coalition for the Homeless released its homeless census report this week. It compiles data from service providers as well as outreach workers for the time span of October 2010 through September 2011.
A few notable findings:
* 8,615 unduplicated homeless people (both sheltered and unsheltered) were counted in 2011. (A slight decrease overall, but part of that may be due to a change in how unsheltered homeless were counted.)
* 509 total families were counted, a jump of 14 percent from the previous year.
* 701 domestic violence victims were tallied, up 16 percent.
* 1,419 chronically homeless were found. That marks a 14 percent decrease.
Natalie Harris, the coalition’s executive director, says that drop among chronically, or longtime, homeless reflects a federally driven focus on that population.
“The reason we feel that is happening is a real commitment from the VA (Veterans Affairs) … and that HUD’s (Dept. of Housing and Urban Developmnet) concentrating on that population.”
Outreach and support services have expanded thanks to federal dollars. And the number of housing vouchers reserved for veterans has also increased at the federal and local level.
Chronically homeless got some help from the coalition this past fall with a campaign dubbed 100,000 Homes.
Since the campaign’s 2003 launch in New York City, 98 other cities have signed on to try and get 100,000 of the nation’s most vulnerable homeless off the streets and into housing by 2013. Louisville’s Coalition for the Homeless has a goal of housing 75 to 100 through the initiative, with vouchers allocated for veterans, families and other longtime homeless men and women.
When it comes to the increase in homeless families, Harris says this rise might partly be due to the fact that there are more shelter beds available to them. But she admits this population is hard to count, given that many are doubled up with friends or relatives, which still falls under HUD’s definition of homeless because they are individuals who lack “a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence that is a shelter.”