Chronic Homelessness Drops 26 percent in Utah

Over ll Homeless declines

SALT LAKE CITY, UT – May 12, 2011 – (RealEstateRama) — Lieutenant Governor Greg Bell and the Division of Housing and Community Development released the results of a snapshot survey showing Utah’s homeless population during a press conference on Wednesday, May 11 at 3:10 p.m. in room 240 of the State Capitol. The survey reflects a decrease of 8.2 percent in overall homelessness and a decrease of 26 percent in chronic homelessness since last year.

The decrease in the chronically homeless population from January 2010 to January 2011 can be attributed to the State’s Housing First Initiative.  This initiative has been supported by the following permanent supportive housing communities: 100 units at Sunrise Metro Apartments (2007), 84 units at Grace Mary Manor (2008), 201 units at Palmer Court (2009), Freedom Landing, a housing facility for veterans (January 2010) and Kelly Benson Apartments (June 2010).

“Without a doubt, Utah’s Housing First approach continues to show that ending chronic homelessness is entirely realistic,” said Lt. Governor Greg Bell, Chairman of the State Homeless Coordinating Committee.  “The collaboration between government, non-profit and private agencies is the key to Utah’s success.  By placing our chronically homeless population into permanent supportive housing with case management, we have seen real change in individuals’ lives and simultaneously created efficiencies within our community systems of care.”

New and highly significant this year, not one single man was placed at the winter overflow shelter and there were beds available for men every night this winter at the main shelter.  “As we move long term homeless individuals into housing, we are able to use that same bed several times over for those experiencing short term homelessness,” said Gordon D. Walker, Director of the Division of Housing and Community Development.  “This continues to confirm that the State’s plan to end chronic homelessness is right on track.”

The Point in Time count is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as part of an effort to collect data on the homeless and their use of services.  HUD defines homeless as persons who are sleeping in places not meant for human habitation, sleeping in emergency shelters or living in transitional housing but were previously living on the streets.  Persons may also be considered homeless if, within seven days, they are being evicted from private dwelling units or being discharged from institutions with no expectation of having a nighttime residence upon eviction or discharge.

The point-in-time count is a method to count the number of homeless persons at a particular place, within a specific time period, on a given day.  In Utah, more than 60 homeless service providers, The U.S. Census

Bureau, DHS, DWS, law enforcement, firemen, EMTs, hospital/clinic administrators, library employees, and private citizens all participated in the count.

In 2004, Utah embraced a nationwide movement and developed and is implementing the State’s strategy “HousingWorks” to end chronic homelessness within 10-years. Under this model, chronically homeless citizens go from the streets or homeless shelters, into their own apartments. The housing is permanent and “affordable,” meaning tenants pay 30 percent of their income for rent. The model also provides job training and other supports to help tenants re-integrate with society. For more information, please visit http://www.housingworks.utah.gov.

Utah’s Homeless Task Force and Ten-Year Homeless Action Plan are managed by the Division of Housing and Community Development under the Utah Department of Community and Culture.

Contact:
Shad J. West
801-538-8718
shadwest (at) utah (dot) gov

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