Count shows slight increase in homelessness in Sedgwick County

KSN News (file)
KSN News

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Results of the 2016 Wichita-Sedgwick County Point-In-Time Homeless Count show an increase in the number of literally homeless individuals since 2015.

The survey, which represents only a snapshot of homelessness on one specific night, found that on January 28, 2016, an estimated 571 people in Sedgwick County experienced literal homelessness–up from 561 in 2015–according to the definition from U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The number of homeless veterans decreased to 46 in 2016–down from 59 in 2015. The overall number of chronically homeless individuals decreased 58.5 percent–from 94 in 2015 to 39 in 2016.

The Wichita-Sedgwick County homeless count continued using a method that it began in 2011: combining the success of street surveys from prior years and a homeless services event at Century II. The event linked participants with needed services and support.

On January 28, 2016, the Wichita-Sedgwick County Continuum of Care, a coalition of community organizations, conducted the event and homeless count for Sedgwick County as part of the Point-In-Time Homeless Count. United Way of the Plains provided coordination for the count.

HUD requires a “Point-in-Time Count of Unsheltered Homeless Persons” across the country every two years.

Communities need accurate data on homelessness to determine the size and scope of the homeless problem at the local level, plan services and programs appropriately to address local needs, measure progress in addressing homelessness and measure performance of individual programs and the system as a whole. HUD needs data to understand the extent and nature of homelessness throughout the country, to make funding decisions and more.

See chart showing more details and historical numbers here: www.unitedwayplains.org/2016homelesscount.

DEFINITIONS FOR THIS COUNT:

“Homeless”

According to U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), a person is considered literally homeless when he/she lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.

  • A sheltered homeless person resides in an emergency shelter or transitional housing for homeless persons who originally came from the streets or emergency shelters.
  • An unsheltered homeless person resides in a place not meant for human habitation, such as cars, parks, sidewalks, abandoned buildings, or on the streets.
  • NOTE: This definition does not include people who are staying in a home or hotel/motel, with a friend, in a treatment facility or in the jail.

“Chronically homeless”

According to HUD, a person is considered chronically homeless when he/she is: An unaccompanied homeless individual with a disabling condition who has been homeless for 12 months in the last three years–either continuously OR during four or more occasions. A family is considered chronically homeless when at least one adult member of the household is chronically homeless. HUD defines a disabling condition as one that impairs the individual’s ability to get or keep a job or take care of personal matters.

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