Count Finds Homelessness Down In Indiana
By Mary Kuhlman, Indiana News Service
(Indianapolis, Ind.) – There are some positive findings in an annual snapshot of homelessness in Indiana. The 2014 Point-in-Time Homeless Count found a 2 percent decrease in overall homelessness from last year, which makes the overall decrease 6 percent since 2010.
Lori Dimick, director of community services, Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority, said in the January count, there was a 40 percent decrease in the number of people without shelter and on the streets.
“Maybe being that it was winter, people moved from the very cold, harsh winter we had into the shelters, where they can be easily counted and less duplicated,” explained Dimick. “So, I’m pleased that has slowly, slowly declined.”
There was also a decrease in the veteran homeless population, down to 710, a 4 percent drop. Overall, close to 6,000 people were homeless during this year’s count.
The survey found a decrease in the number of homeless families with children, but an increase in families without children. Dimick suggested this might be because of more cohabiting couples who do not have children, or whose children are not with them.
“You’ve got an adult mother who doesn’t have her children with her. She just has them stay somewhere else while she suffers going through either shelters or living in a car, or whatever,” Dimick said.
The count is conducted the last week in January and Dimick says it is used to track population shifts and plan for future programs targeting homelessness.
“Counties, regions, cities, need to have an idea of what the count is – the unsheltered count and the shelter count, in their area – so they can be strategic in how to locate housing programs and rental assistance programs.”
Dimick added that she wasn’t surprised by the results. She said they are confirmation of Indiana’s increased efforts to target homelessness through emergency shelter grants, rental assistance, and permanent, supportive housing projects.