A new report from the Indiana University Public Policy Institute shows that the total number of individuals experiencing homelessness has decreased in the last few years, returning to previous years’ levels. The report, Ten-Year Trend Shows Slight Decrease in Number of People Experiencing Homelessness, is an annual Point-in-Time Count that assesses the current needs of homeless individuals in Marion County and identifies program service gaps.
In 2007, Institute Senior Researcher Laura Littlepage began working with the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP) to count the number of individuals experiencing homelessness during one night in January. A total of 12 reports detailing the homeless population along with recommendations for policymakers have been released since the Homeless Count project began.
During the 2016 Point-in-Time Count, 1,619 individuals were identified as experiencing homelessness in Marion County, a 2.8 percent decrease from 2015. The eight-page report says changes in program classification and population likely contributed to the decrease witnessed in persons residing in transitional housing. Several agencies also altered their programs to open up beds for all individuals, not just reserved for individuals experiencing homelessness.
In addition to highlighting the age, race and ethnicity, level of education and other demographics of those experiencing homelessness, the report identified the following trends in Marion County from the past 10 years:
- The number of homeless individuals in emergency shelters has increased, while the number of homeless individuals in transitional housing has decreased;
- The number of unsheltered homeless individuals has remained relatively constant;
- Veterans experiencing homelessness has increased in numbers and as a percent of the total;
- Percent of individuals under the age of 18 is down from the high in 2009;
- The number of families experiencing homelessness has been relatively stable since 2011.