Tag Archives: Point-in-Time Count

2013 AHAR Shows Decreases in Chronic and Veteran Homelessness

The US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) One CPD Resource Exchange email list recently sent a message summarizing HUD’s 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress.  This report contains some outstanding news; measurable, sustained decreases in chronic and veteran homelessness!  (Plus, it has occurred in spite of our ongoing recession!)

Based on data reported by more than 3,000 cities and counties, last January’s one-night estimate reveals a 24 percent drop in homelessness among Veterans and a 16 percent reduction among individuals experiencing long-term or chronic homelessness since 2010. HUD’s estimate also found the largest decline in the number of persons in families experiencing homelessness since the Department began measuring homelessness in a standard manner in 2005…

HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan said this:

“If we’re going to end homelessness as we know it, we need a continued bipartisan commitment from Congress to break the cycle trapping our most vulnerable citizens between living in a shelter or a life on the streets. I understand these are tough budget times but these are proven strategies that are making a real difference. We simply can’t balance our budget on the backs of those living on the margins.”

This progress has occurred in the context of the Obama administration’s Opening Doors program, a cross-department road map shared among 19 federal agencies aimed at ending veteran homelessness by 2015 and child, youth, and family homelessness by 2020.  The reduction in homelessness is primarily attributed to the HUD-VASH voucher program, and expanded permanent supportive housing programs in local communities.

Great news like this reminds me that we know how to end homelessness (house people!  And support them in maintaining their housing!), and that once you factor in emergency services (police, ambulance, ER, etc.) and the costs of homelessness (employability, social connections, etc.) we can do it for something like the same amount we spend now.  Personally, I’d be happy to pay a bit more in taxes if I was confident it would result in more people being housed, but my point is that it’s probably not even necessary; we just need to allocate our resources differently, perhaps shifting some of the savings on emergency services into permanent housing programs.

News like this reminds me that there is no moral or practical reason why any of our neighbors need to continue experiencing homelessness.  Only a bias toward the status quo stands between us and a housing system that works for everyone.

News like this gives me a sense of urgency.  Those who will suffer homelessness tonight stuffer needlessly!  What can we do, today, to help create a better housing system?

Is there any way I can help you in that work?

Can you feel it?

Thank You Veterans

In honor of Veterans Day today, not only do we extend a huge, heartfelt “Thank you!” to all service people and their families, we also want to shed light on the issue of veteran homelessness in the KC metropolitan area. Veterans are disproportionally represented in the homeless population throughout the country.

Last January, Wyandotte and Jackson county performed a count of all homeless individuals and found 1634 individuals experiencing homelessness. Of that group, 316 identified as veterans.

The story is the same in any city or county, big or small, across the country; roughly 20% of the homeless population are homeless veterans and their families. Men and women who gave so much to their country are without a roof over their head and don’t receive the help and services they need.

This Veterans Day thank those that served this great country but also support those organizations that help homeless veterans. Everyone deserves a home, especially those that sacrificed and risked so much to protect ours.

Homeless Veteran Timelapse Transformation

For more information on how to help programs that directly serve homeless veterans and their families contact the Salvation Army.

KC 100,000 Homes Campaign Year One Accomplishments

Just about one year ago, Kansas City, MO launched its 100,000 Homes campaign as part of the nation-wide 100,000 Homes movement.  The movement aims to place 100,000 of our most vulnerable homeless neighbors in permanent housing by July 2014, and is on track to reach that ambitious goal!  The campaign operates by building a list of homeless people in a community, and bringing together case workers, outreach workers, housing providers, and other stakeholders to address each individual’s needs one-by-one.

Ehren Dohler, of reStart, as been our local campaign manager for the past year, getting the Kansas City team up and running.  At the campaign’s leadership team meeting last week, he shared the following accomplishments of the campaign so far:

  • Placed 99 chronically homeless and/or highly vulnerable people into permanent housing since October 2012
  • Kansas City now consistently houses 2.5% of its chronic homeless population per month (about 10 people per month)
  • The 100,000 Homes Vulnerability Index has been incorporated into the Point-in-Time Count
  • HUD-VASH and Shelter-Plus-Care vouchers are increasingly well-utilized in Kansas City

As a participant in the campaign, I can also add an important accomplishment that’s hard to quantify; we’ve learned a ton.  We’ve learned about each other, what we do, and how we get things done.  We’ve learned a new process for housing people.  We’ve learned about the limitations of the existing housing system, and what some of our next steps are to increase the resources available to the population we serve.  We’ve learned to work more closely together.

The 100,000 Homes campaign doesn’t end when the 100,000th person is housed; it ends when everyone who needs housing is housed.  It’s what we learn in working with the first 100,000 of our homeless neighbors that will make housing everyone possible.