News release from the United Way of Allen County:
United Way and Homelessness Council Announce Results
Area Homelessness Data from January Point In Time Count
(June 26, 2013) – United Way of Allen County and the area Homelessness Council announced local data from the point in time count held in January. The point in time count assesses local issues of homelessness in order to clearly identify areas of need in the region.
This year, overall results showed a decrease in the number of homeless individuals in the area as well as the number of those unable to obtain access to shelter. The total number of homeless individuals in Allen, Huntington, Noble and Whitley counties during the count was 445 individuals, a 17 percent decrease over last year. The number of those individuals that remained unsheltered at that time was 30 individuals or 7 percent of those counted. This change is believed to be a result of multiple factors including the rapid rehousing program and the especially brutal winter.
“We believe that the decrease is due to the newly established rapid rehousing program,” explained Tiffany Bailey, director of 2-1-1, income and basic needs at United Way and chair of the Fort Wayne area planning council on homelessness. “However, the decline in the number of unsheltered individuals we believe is due to the extremely brutal winter we had. Individuals that in previous years would not have entered a shelter did so this year because the winter was too harsh to withstand outside.”
Although the results seem like an improvement over previous years, there is still a great need for homelessness assistance in the area. Of those experiencing homelessness in the area, nearly 29 percent are children under the age of 18 and another 18 percent are veterans.
The Fort Wayne Area Planning Council on Homelessness is working to address the issue of homelessness so local individuals can find permanent shelter and employment and become self-sufficient. The Planning Council is comprised of dozens of agencies and local government officials. The Councils three main goals are to reduce the number of homeless persons, shorten the time that people are homeless and make sure enough resources exist to prevent people from becoming homeless again.
Local residents can help by providing support to local food pantries through donations of food and personal care items. To find a food pantry near you, please dial 2-1-1. Anyone is welcome to attend Planning Council on Homelessness meeting and can contact Tiffany Bailey at United Way for more information.