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July 3, 2014

Homeless shelter's numbers increase

Study shows decrease statewide

Studies illustrating “a snapshot” of homelessness across Indiana on a single night show a decline between 2014 and 2013, while annual figures from a Logansport shelter suggest homelessness is on the rise locally.

The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority released statewide findings recently from its Point-in-Time Homeless Count, conducted Jan. 29. The IHCDA holds the count every January to determine what a press release calls “a snapshot of homelessness in the state on a particular night.”

Jason Mitchell, executive director of the Emmaus Mission Center in Logansport, said the study is a good way to illustrate homelessness at “one particular moment.” He added people should keep factors in mind like people not wanting to admit they’re homeless and the fact that many homeless people live in areas surveyors may not want to visit, however.

“A lot is based on shelter care and people they can find,” Mitchell said. “I think that results should be taken with that understanding. Data from that statistically isn’t necessarily indicative of the whole picture.”

There are measures that would make data more indicative, he continued.

“If we were to do point-in-time counts or assessments in people in shelters over the course of two months or every quarter, then things in my mind would be a little more viable,” Mitchell said.

The press release states the count is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for communities receiving federal funds for programs to aid the homeless. Allocations are not directly based on findings of the count, the release continues, but “HUD considers the outcomes and justifications for upward and downward swings as additional information for tracking purposes.”

This year’s point-in-time count reflects a 2 percent decrease in overall homelessness in Indiana from 2013, with a total of 5,971 people without a home. The figure marks a 6 percent overall decrease since 2010.

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