Local Homeless Population Climbs Slowly

Aug 29, 2017

An annual report on homelessness in Hamilton County is turning up some surprises. 

The Strategies to End Homelessness survey finds the number of people living in shelters or on the streets only climbed by 1.3 percent last year. Executive Director Kevin Finn says that's a lot less than other cities.

"Los Angeles, San Francisco, several bigger cities, I've seen headlines that were 15, 20 percent increases in homelessness."

The report says nearly 7,200 people were counted as homeless.

He says while he wants to see a decrease, a slight climb is a sign of progress. "We are not seeing the increases that are happening in some other communities. I do think that when you dig down a little further into the numbers though there are some things that are troubling. We're seeing more and more homelessness around the extremes of age."

Finn says a quarter of Hamilton County's homeless are under the age of 18. He says there was a 20 percent increase in the number of homeless people over the age of 55.

"People, as they age, can qualify for things like social security and that, which provide them some level of safety net. With resources like that available we would have not expected to see so many older people in our community experiencing homelessness."

For the survey, homelessness is counted as living in a shelter or on the street.

Finn says the numbers give local governments and organizations like his an idea of how best to allocate resources.