July 13, 2011 in City

Homeless numbers decline in Idaho

Grant gets part of credit for drop
By The Spokesman-Review
 

A statewide count indicates 2,199 people are homeless in Idaho, a 6 percent decrease from the 2,346 people counted as homeless in 2010.

Of those, 1,310 were single and 889 consisted of at least one adult and one child, according to a news release from the Idaho Housing and Finance Association, which conducted the count with regional housing coalitions.

In Idaho’s five northern counties, the count identified 559 homeless people, a 13 percent decrease from 2010. Last year, the count identified 644 homeless people, a 54 percent increase from 2009, according to news reports. The count does not include people who may be staying with friends or relatives, or in a hotel or motel, treatment facility or jail.

Jeff Conroy, executive director of St. Vincent de Paul North Idaho, said some homelessness decreased in part due to a federal grant that helps house homeless individuals. St. Vincent received $854,000 under that grant. However, that money runs out in October, he said, when “quite honestly, we’ll see another spike” in the numbers. On the flip side, he said, homelessness among families has skyrocketed.

The most recent statewide count indicates that 25 percent of the homeless are minors, 24 percent suffer from substance abuse, 17 percent are mentally ill, 23 percent are victims of domestic violence and 15 percent are veterans, the release said.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires a homelessness count annually during one night in January in order for funding to be provided through the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. Volunteers count the unsheltered homeless and add the information to that collected by shelters, transitional houses and other services. The “point-in-time” count is the only resource for obtaining information on the unsheltered homeless, the release said.

Idaho receives more than $3 million from the federal government for programs that serve the homeless, and the data from the count helps determine the level of funding awarded.


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