Homeless Population Declines by 5% in Broward County
BROWARD COUNTY, FL – May 28, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — This year’s Broward County Point-in-Time (PIT) Count, conducted over a three-day period on January 26-28, 2015 shows that the total number of sheltered and unsheltered persons experiencing homelessness in Broward County has decreased by 5.1%, from 2,766 to 2,624. The number of unsheltered persons also decreased by 5.7% from 879 to 829. Both figures are comparisons to the same count done in January 2014.
The federal government identifies homelessness as those individuals living in places not meant for human habitation, emergency shelters or transitional housing programs. The decrease in both the total and unsheltered counts is attributed to the County adopting Housing First Continuum; Homeless Prioritization Assistance Tool; and acceptance in Community Solutions ZERO:2016 Ending Veteran and Chronic Homeless Campaign.
An additional 724 persons were counted as “at-risk” of homelessness, which is generally defined as an individual or family seeking permanent housing but stayed the previous night at an institution; a hotel paid by self; a jail, prison or detention center; a family/friend’s house; or someone who was facing imminent eviction; and/or in foster care. The count is required by U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Florida’s Office on Homelessness.
The Broward Regional Health Planning Council (BRHPC), Hands on Broward, 2-1-1, Broward County Homeless Initiative Partnership Advisory (Partnership) Board and Broward Sheriff’s Office headed up the 2015 Point-in-Time Count effort in collaboration with approximately 350 volunteers, consisting of County staff, homeless services agencies, five municipal law enforcement agencies, individuals, advocates, and faith-based, foster care, youth and community-based organizations. Trained volunteers fanned out across the County to homeless encampments, labor pools, meal programs and homeless shelters. The results were tabulated by Dr. Patrick Hardigan of Nova Southeastern University.
BRHPC noted that the count’s success was greatly due to a 75% increase in volunteer participation over 2014 levels and a 6% increase in the number of unsheltered persons completing a Vulnerability Index Services Prioritization Decision Assistance Tool. Completion of the tool during the PIT Count, resulted in approximately 25 veteran and chronic households being permanently housed.
The Homeless Lead Agency identified the following as contributing factors for the reduction in this year’s count:
- Continued implementation of “A Way Home” Plan objectives approved by the Board of County Commissioners in August 2013
- Successful programmatic efficiencies implemented during the past three years
- Committed network of Homeless Housing and Services Providers, advocates and stakeholders
The Continuum of Care Board and Homeless Lead Agency will analyze this year’s data and establish objectives to address new and existing challenges and meet the needs of homeless residents. “The Homeless Lead Agency takes this opportunity to thank all who participated in making the 2015 Homeless Point-In-Time Count a success,” said Michael Wright, administrator for the Broward County Homeless Initiative Partnership.
About Homeless Initiative Partnership
The Homeless Initiative Partnership (HIP), a section within the Community Partnerships Division of the Broward County Human Services Department, plans and coordinates services for homeless persons, and serves as liaison to the Homeless Initiative Partnership Advisory Board, which acts as agent for the Board of County Commissioners in the development and implementation of homeless assistance programs. HIP is also the lead agency for the County’s Homeless Continuum of Care, a network of organizations, advocates, residents and businesses that plan programs to help alleviate homelessness in Broward County. The goal is to end chronic and veteran homelessness by 2016, and family and youth homelessness by 2020. For more information, call 954-357-6101 or visit Homeless Services.
CONTACT: Michael Wright, Administrator
Broward County Homeless Initiative Partnership
EMAIL: mwright (at) broward (dot) org