Vanderburgh County Homelessness Rate Remains Flat, Affordable Housing Under Construction Expected to Help

June 25, 2018 - The Point in Time (PIT) count is an annual count mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for every metropolitan area receiving ESG (Emergency Solutions Grant) funding. The PIT count involves local homeless service agencies and volunteers that count the number of individuals experiencing homelessness on one specific night during the fourth week of January each year. Evansville’s 2018 PIT count occurred on the evening of January 26 and the early morning of January 27. This count is traditionally done in late January during the coldest week of the year when people are more likely to seek shelter.

The PIT count includes those individuals who are living on the streets, in places not meant for human habitation, and in shelters. Aurora’s Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) is integral in the PIT count because they know where the street homeless reside at night. Aurora’s HOT team and several community volunteers work with local organizations, such as House of Bread and Peace, United Caring Services, Ozanam Family Shelter, and Evansville Rescue Mission, in a great collaborative effort to ensure the accuracy of the PIT count.

This year’s count found 427 unique individuals experiencing homelessness down from the 2017 count of 428. Chronic homelessness was down one individual from 56 in 2017 to 55 in 2018. An individual who is chronically homeless is someone who has experienced homelessness for one year or longer, or experienced four separate occurrences of homelessness over the past three years that total one year, according to HUD.

One of the Commission on Homelessness’s goals is to see an end to chronic homelessness, which is often due to mental health issues, the lack of affordable housing and substance abuse issues. We are encouraged that there was not an increase in our PIT count this year.

We believe that ECHO Housing Corporation’s newest project Garvin Lofts, slated to be open later this year, will help dramatically reduce those experiencing long-term homelessness. Of the 427 individuals who experienced homelessness, 109 individuals identify a series mental health issues as the main cause of their homelessness. In addition, a recent capstone project conducted by students in the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at the University of Southern Indiana found that the number one reason someone self-identifies as homeless was due to the lack of affordable housing (rents are too high).

Evansville’s local homeless service agencies, in partnership with the Commission on Homelessness, continue to work on preventing and ending homelessness in our community. One such example is a program that began earlier this year called Evansville’s Network of Diversion (END). Diversion is a system-wide collaborative effort that uses a client-based solution approach to connect clients to services, financial assistance, and permanent supportive housing while diverting them away from shelters.

PIT COUNT Past Results:

2018—427 individuals were homeless, of which 55 individuals were chronic. Both numbers are basically the same from last year.

373 were shelter

54 were unsheltered

2017—428 individuals; 56 chronic

2016—495 individuals

2015—462 individuals

2014—496 individuals