2013 Point-in-Time Count tracks Ohio's homeless
Point-in-Time Counts of area homeless individuals are taking place across the state and the country this month, including our local areas of Cleveland, Columbus and Mansfield. The annual count provides data on homeless men, women and children living in emergency shelters, transitional housing, on the streets and in other locations not intended for human habitation. Places not meant for human habitation can be anywhere from parks and chicken coops to parking ramps and cave systems.On the night of Thursday's count in Columbus, temperatures reached a frigid 18 degrees.
Accounting for Ohio's homeless helps gain proper funding
The information gathered is critical for obtaining current and accurate data, to be used in homeless policy and planning decisions, public awareness, education and more. In addition, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) uses the data to understand the extent of homelessness, provide Congress with information on available services and gaps in services and make funding decisions.
The numbers, which are acquired during the last seven days of January at least every two years, are required by the U.S. Department of HUD for communities receiving Continuum of Care (CoC) Homeless Assistance Grant funding. Data from the Point-in-Time count is used to assist the CoC locally in Cleveland, Columbus and Mansfield and across Ohio to plan future services aiming to end homelessness, understand changes in trends among homeless populations, comply with reporting requirements from HUD and other contributors and local stakeholders and to justify the need for continued resources to assist the homeless.
According to the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO), accurate data on the numbers and characteristics provides benefits beyond meeting HUD requirements, including:
- Providing support for local planning efforts by identifying unmet needs and trends in size and characteristics of homeless populations.
- Supplying guidance for development of more effective programming and services,
- Raising awareness of homelessness,
- Assisting with allocation of resources to local priorities,
- Targeting interventions for certain homeless sub-populations, and
- Identifying community goals, and
- Assisting in measuring progress toward homelessness reduction goals.
Homeless veterans up 42.8 percent from 2010 to 2011
In COHHIO's homeless report for 2011, a total of 13,003 homeless individuals were counted during a single day in 2011 in Ohio — a figure up 4.8 percent from 2010's Point-in-Time Count.
Most notably in 2011, a total of 1,381, or 10.6 percent of the homeless population accounted for, were veterans — an enormous increase of 42.8 percent in homelessness in veterans from 2010. At Volunteers of America, we've made it our mission to bring this number down to zero through our homeless services.
More stats from the 2011 Point-in-Time Count
Of the over 13,000 homeless individuals in Ohio in 2011, 11,197 were counted among the "sheltered" homeless, or those living in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs during Point-in-Time Counts. A total of 1,806 were unsheltered persons living on the streets or other places not meant for human habitation.
Among those counted in 2011, 5,218 were members of a homeless family, 7,785 were individuals, or families without children and a total of 101 were unaccompanied children under the age of 18.
A total of 2,018 of those counted had a severe mental illness, 2,746 had a chronic substance abuse problem, 83 had HIV/AIDS and 1,215 were victims of domestic violence.
Chronically homeless persons, or those who have been homeless continuously for over a year or have had four episodes of homelessness in the past three years, numbered 2,164.
How you can help the Volunteers of America and Ohio's homeless
If you'd like to make a difference in the lives of homeless men, women and children across Ohio, it's as easy as giving or volunteering. We also accept tax-deductible car, truck, motorcycle, boat and RV donations. You could even receive a higher value for your vehicle as a charitable contribution than you would selling or trading it on the market. Click here for the car donation form. When you donate to Volunteers of America, you are helping us to achieve our fundraising goals every year in all of the Ohio communities we serve. If you have any questions or would like to arrange towing, please contact the Car Donation & Auction Office at 614-870-7511 before 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and before 2 p.m. on Saturday.