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Homeless population rising in North Idaho

Fri., Feb. 12, 2010, 10:55 a.m.

The number of homeless people in Idaho’s five northern counties rose 36 percent from 2009 to 2010, according to an annual five-day count.

From Jan. 27 to 31, 774 homeless people were counted during the “Region 1 Point in Time Count.” People were counted on the street, in soup kitchens, in encampments, and at the Homeless Connect, an annual event offering free services and resources, said Jeff Conroy, executive director of St. Vincent de Paul North Idaho.

Some 712 of those individuals were counted in Kootenai County, the preliminary data showed. The final report will be completed in April.

Of the 744 people, 55 percent were male and 45 percent were female. One in five was a child. More than 1 in 10 was an unaccompanied youth. Some 12 percent were veterans.

Some 22 percent were “chronically homeless,” a 280 percent increase from 2009. Those are people who have either been homeless for a year or more; or who have had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years.

Conroy pointed out that the report does not include people who are living in a shelter or transitional housing or with friends.

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