INDIANAPOLIS – The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority released the statewide findings from the Point-in-Time homeless count. Conducted every January, the count helps identify the scope of homelessness in Indiana’s 92 counties.
The count revealed improvements in several areas; including a 25 percent decrease of chronically homeless individuals, a 43 percent decrease of those who are mentally ill and a 50 percent decrease of those dealing with substance abuse compared to results from last year’s count.
“Knowing how far we’ve come and the challenges that still exist, helps us develop initiatives and programs to reduce homelessness in Indiana,” Lt. Governor Becky Skillman said. “The count is our most effective way to understand homelessness, which is why we conduct it every year instead of every two years like most other states.”
IHCDA’s nationally recognized Indiana Permanent Supportive Housing Initiative, which assists disabled homeless individuals, was cited as a reason for the decreases. Over the past year IHCDA and its partnering agencies opened eight new permanent support housing projects, providing 162 additional units statewide. The overall goal is to develop 1,400 units by 2013.
On Jan. 25, there were 6,259 individuals comprising 4,213 households and 955 households with dependent children who were without a home. While there was a six percent decrease in households without dependents, there was a 23 percent increase in the number of households with dependents. IHCDA cites the end of the federally funded, Homeless Prevention Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP) which was designed for people who are homeless or at risk of being homeless, as a contributor for the increase.
Due to the success of HPRP, the federal allocation of the Emergency Solutions Grant was increased and expanded in order to fund a new Rapid Re-housing initiative which will begin in September 2012. Rapid Re-housing has been successfully used in many communities to help homeless individuals and families move quickly into permanent housing.
There was a state-wide decrease, dropping from 690 to 652, in the number of homeless veterans. The increased partnership with the Veterans Administration and the ability to access rental subsidy programs like the Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing voucher program are attributed to the overall decrease throughout the state.
Held on Jan. 25, the Point-in-Time Homeless count is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in order for agencies to continue to receive federal funds for programs that aid the homeless. The count must be conducted during the last two weeks of January.
In Indiana, IHCDA, the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention and the South Bend Continuum of Care conduct the count every year in all 92 counties to ensure consistency and comprehensive data.
Of the 6,259 individuals found and identified as experiencing homelessness:
- 889 were unsheltered and found on the street, and 5,370 were staying in emergency shelters, safe havens or in temporary transitional housing programs.
- 23% of households counted, or 955 households were with dependent children.
- 1,194 of the adults counted were women fleeing from domestic violence.
- 652 of the adults counted were veterans, a decrease of 6% from 2011.
- 16% of the adults counted suffered from a chronic addiction.
- .07% of the adults counted identified themselves as having a severe mental illness.
- .07% of individuals counted can be characterized as “chronically homeless.”