Held on January 30, 2013, the Point-in-Time Homeless Count is a requirement by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for every community receiving federal funds for programs to aid the homeless. The count must be conducted every two years during the last two weeks of January. In Indiana, IHCDA, the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP), and the South Bend Continuum of Care conducts counts covering all 92 counties in Indiana on a yearly basis.
"The Point-in-Time Count is essential in assessing homelessness in our state," said Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann, who chairs the IHCDA Board. "While not directly affecting the amount of federal funding allocated to the state, we can utilize the information to further develop our collective statewide efforts to end homelessness in Indiana."
Representing a three percent decrease from last year, 6,064 individuals were without a home on January 30th. The individuals made up 4,375 households which is a four percent increase from 2012, but an overall decrease of three percent from 2011.
Demonstrating the largest decrease was the total number of households with dependent children falling 23% to 739. Conversely, there was a ten percent increase in the number of households without dependents. IHCDA cites the increase may be due to more couples living together who are homeless who do not have children or their children are currently not living with them, as a contributor for the bigger number.
Despite the increased partnership with the Veterans Administration and the ability to access rental subsidy programs like the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing voucher program, the number of homeless veterans increased by 12% to include 743 adults.
However, additional assistance for Indiana’s Veterans is on the way. On Thursday, July 11th Secretary of Veterans Affairs (VA) Eric K. Shinseki announced the award of nearly $300 million in grants to 319 community agencies nationally that will help approximately 120,000 homeless and at-risk veterans and their families. The federal funds were awarded to private nonprofit organizations and consumer cooperatives that provide services to very low-income veteran families living in or transitioning to permanent housing.
In Indiana, a record five awards totaling $3,179,218 were granted to four Indiana non-profits: Volunteers of America (who received two awards), Community Action of Northeast Indiana, Lafayette Transitional Housing Center, and InteCare, Inc. The funds are projected to impact 58 unique counties and 958 households throughout the state.
Even with these improvements, IHCDA and statewide partners remain focused on working together to systematically preventing and ending homelessness for those most vulnerable in our communities. It will not be accomplished quickly, but by identifying an individual's or family's barriers to self-sufficiency and targeting the most appropriate housing solution, the hope is to minimize the number of people that enter the homelessness delivery system and the duration of time they spend in it.
The homeless population by category includes: homeless with children, homeless without children, and subpopulations including chronically homeless, unaccompanied youth, veterans, domestic violence victims, persons with severe mentally illness, chronic substance abuse, and/or persons living with AIDS.
Totals for the 2013 PIT Count include:
6,064 individuals comprising 4,375 households were homeless during the last week in January 2013.
Of the 6,064 individuals found and identified as experiencing homelessness, 688 were unsheltered and found on the street and 5,396 were staying in emergency shelters, safe havens or in temporary transitional housing programs.
3,602 households were persons without dependent children.
1,543 were under the age of 18 years old.
1,116 of the adults counted were women fleeing from domestic violence.
743 of the adults counted were veterans.
739 households were with dependent children.
503 identified themselves as being characterized as "chronically homeless."
16% of the adults counted identified themselves as suffering from a chronic addiction.
13% of the adults counted identified themselves as having a severe mental illness.
Source: Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority...