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Annual Point-in-Time Count of Homelessness Shows Improvement

Posted April 12, 2016

The 2016 PIT Report was released today by the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness and the Chittenden County Homeless Alliance:

On a single night in January, 1,102 Vermonters were found to be homeless. The 2016 Point-In-Time Count, released today by the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness and the Chittenden County Homeless Alliance, showed an overall decrease in homelessness by 28% compared to the 2015 Point-in-Time Count. Of the households counted statewide 156 had children, or 20% of total households counted. That is a decrease of 22% from last year.

Statewide, a decrease if 25% was seen in chronic homelessness. “Chronic homelessness” means that people have been homeless for longer periods of time (and often homeless more often) and, that they have a disability. (The full definition is available at http://nlihc.org/article/hud-publishes-final-ruledefinition-chronic-homelessness). Over the past two years there have been many efforts to end chronic homelessness in Vermont such as the 100,000 Homes Campaign and an increase of Permanent Supportive Housing.

“Vermont experienced the “perfect storm” this winter, with help from the mild weather, low heating fuel prices and, most significantly, state and local investments over the last several years have helped alleviate and even prevent homelessness”, said MaryEllen Mendl, Co-Chair of the Coalition to End Homelessness.

The report comes from data collected for the Annual Point-in-Time (PIT) Count, an unduplicated count of persons experiencing homelessness on the night of January 26, 2016. The Count and its findings were supported by Vermont’s two Continua (Chittenden County and Balance of State). These networks are comprised of homeless and human service organizations, housing agencies, and other partners that strive to eliminate homelessness throughout Vermont, with coordination provided by the Vermont Agency of Human Services, the City of Burlington, the Vermont State Housing Authority, and United Ways of Vermont.

“While there can be issues of accuracy in counting those experiencing homelessness, the two year downward trend in the local point in time numbers seems to indicate that the collective efforts of those who have worked for many years to reduce homelessness, together with more recent partners such the UVM Medical Center, are bending the curve in the right direction. In Chittenden County, Harbor Place and the warming shelter have substantially reduced scattered site motel usage – meaning that those experiencing homelessness can be more effectively connected with services. People who have been homeless for years, often with substantial physical and mental health challenges, are being housed through the combination of a common assessment, a community wait list and the creation of new housing at Beacon Apartments. Credit also goes to the Burlington Housing Authority, which directs up to half of its rental assistance to homeless households. It’s rare that those households don’t find homes once they have that BHA assistance. BHA has also tripled its housing retention team, working to prevent people from becoming homeless,” said Margaret Bozik, Co-Chair of the Chittenden Homeless Alliance.

According to the 2015 Out of Reach Report, the Fair Market Rent (FMR) in Vermont for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,075. In Vermont, the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,075. In order to afford this level of rent and utilities — without paying more than 30% of income on housing — a household must earn $3,585 monthly or $43,017 annually. Assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks per year, this level of income translates into an hourly Housing Wage of $20.68 per hour. A large percentage of renters in Vermont do not earn enough to afford a two-bedroom unit at the average statewide Fair Market Rent. High rents and vacancy rates as low as 1% both continue to be barriers for finding and retaining housing.

Key Notes:

  • Total persons found homeless on one night decreased by 28% from the 2015 count.
  • 124 persons identified as chronically homeless. Chronic homelessness decreased by 25% statewide from the 2015 count.
  • 156 households had children, or 20% of total households counted.
  • 109 persons identified as veterans, 23% lower than last year’s total of 141 persons.
  • The number of unsheltered persons, those living outdoors or taking shelter in a place unfit for human habitation, was 156 persons. This is a slight increase from last year in total from 2015.
  • 230 persons reported as victims of domestic violence; a 10% decrease over 2015. That count does NOT include children impacted – domestic violence is defined as between intimate partners so children are not counted.
  • 371 households identified as being homeless for the first time, or 47% of total households counted.
  • Significant portions of those who are homeless have disabilities. Persons in the count with disabilities may have more than one disabling condition.
    • 316 persons identified as having a serious mental illness, or 29% of the total persons
    • 212 persons identified as having a substance abuse disorder, or 19% of the total persons
    • 177 persons identified as having a physical disability and 50 persons identified as having a developmental disability, or 16% and 5% of the total persons counted respectively.

Every year, the Point-in-Time Count provides a snapshot of how many people are literally homeless on a single night. The findings are used by Vermont’s two Continua of Care in their funding applications to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In addition, the PIT Count provides local communities and state policy makers with an understanding of current challenges and need, areas to target limited funding for appropriate housing and services, and the ability to track overall progress. There are other, more expansive, definitions of homelessness which include those who are doubled up, at risk of losing their housing or otherwise precariously housed, and it’s important to acknowledge that issues of housing security extend beyond those included in the PIT Count.

To view the full 2016 statewide report, visit: http://helpingtohousevt.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/2016VTPITREPORTFULL.pdf

 



2015 Vermont Point-in-Time Report Released: Annual Point-in-Time Count of Homelessness Shows Modest Gains

Posted June 4, 2015

On a single night in January, 1,523 Vermonters were identified as homeless. The 2015 Point-In-Time Count, released today by the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness and the Chittenden County Homeless Alliance, showed a small overall decrease in homelessness by 2.3% compared to the 2014 Point-in-Time Count. However, while Chittenden County saw a substantial decrease by 11.5%, the remainder of the state saw a small increase in homelessness by 2.4%. Of the households counted statewide, 199 had children, or 18.6% of total households counted.


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Statewide, significant decreases were seen in chronic homelessness. Under the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) definition, a chronically homeless individual is someone who has experienced homelessness for a year or longer, or who has experienced at least four episodes of homelessness in the last three years and has a disability. The chronically homeless are an extremely vulnerable population. Over the past year there have been many efforts to end chronic homelessness in Vermont such as the 100,000 Homes Campaign and an increase of Permanent Supportive Housing.

Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness Co-Chair Sara Kobylenski of the Upper Valley Haven in White River Junction credits state investments over the last several years in programs to alleviate and prevent homelessness as having helped to keep the increase outside Chittenden relatively small compared to previous years. “The Vermont Rental Subsidy, Emergency Solutions, Family Supportive Housing, and Community Housing programs among others are showing positive results,” Kobylenski affirmed.

The report comes from data collected for the Annual Point-in-Time (PIT) Count, an unduplicated count of persons experiencing homelessness on the night of January 27, 2015. The Point-in-Time uses HUD’s definition of homelessness. The Point-In-Time count did not collect information on those precariously housed, doubled up with friends and family, or couch surfing.The Count and its findings were supported by Vermont’s two “Continuums of Care,” the Chittenden County and Balance of State Continuums. These networks are composed of homeless and human service organizations, housing agencies, and other partners that strive to eliminate homelessness throughout Vermont, and include the Agency of Human Services, the City of Burlington, the Vermont State Housing Authority, and United Ways of Vermont as well.

The Point-In-Time findings come on the heels of the release of the Out of Reach Report. In Vermont, the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,075. In order to afford this level of rent and utilities — without paying more than 30% of income on housing — a household must earn $3,585 monthly or $43,017 annually. Assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks per year, this level of income translates into an hourly Housing Wage of $20.68 per hour. A large percentage of renters in Vermont do not earn enough to afford a two-bedroom unit at the average statewide Fair Market Rent. High rents and vacancy rates as low as 1% both continue to be barriers for finding and retaining housing.

“While Chittenden County has seen success in housing the most vulnerable people experiencing chronic homelessness through the community-based 100,000 Homes campaign begun last fall, we need to recognize (as did the remarkably successful effort in Utah) that we need to create more rental housing stock to truly bend the curve in the right direction – especially with a vacancy rate persistently below 1%. We also need to focus on domestic violence as a leading cause of family homelessness,” said Margaret Bozik, Co-Chair of the Chittenden County Homeless Alliance and Associate Director of Asset Management & Program Development at Champlain Housing Trust.

Key Notes:

  • Total found homeless on one night decreased by 2.31% from the 2014 count.
  • 166 persons identified as chronically homeless. Chronic homelessness decreased within Chittenden County by 33% and within the Balance of State CoC by 49% from the 2014 count.
    199 households had children, or 18.6% of total households counted.
  • 119 persons identified as veterans, almost equal to last year’s total of 120 persons.
  • The number of unsheltered persons, those living outdoors or taking shelter in a place unfit for human habitation, was 159 persons. This is a slight decrease of 2.5% from last year.
  • 256 persons reported as victims of domestic violence; that count does NOT include children impacted.
  • 561 persons identified as being homeless for the first time, or 36.8% of total persons counted.
  • 474 persons identified as having a serious mental illness, or 31.1% of the total persons counted.
  • 422 persons identified as having a substance abuse disorder, or 27.7% of the total persons counted.
  • 336 persons identified as having a physical disability and 94 persons identified as having a developmental disability, or 22% and 6.2% of the total persons counted respectively.

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Every year, the Point-in-Time Count provides a snapshot of how many people are homeless on a single night. The PIT Count allows local communities and state policy makers to understand current problems of homelessness, target limited funding to appropriate housing and services, and track progress.

For additional information, visit: http://helpingtohousevt.org/point-in-time-counts/.

Click here to view the entire report and here for a link to this press release.

 



Round-Up of Coverage of Count Showing Increasing Homelessness in Vermont

Posted April 22, 2014

Last week the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness and the Chittenden County Continuum of Care released the results of this year’s Point-in-Time Count of the state’s homeless population.  The 2014 count found an over 9 percent increase in those homeless in Vermont compared to 2013.

Here’s a round-up of some of the media coverage of the report’s findings:

Brattleboro Reformer: Vermont Homeless Population Increases by 9 percent

WCAX: Survey Finds Number of Homeless in Vermont Increasing

Burlington Free Press: Annual Count Finds Increase in Vermont Homelessness

Fox44/ABC22: Homelessness on the Rise in Vermont, According to Point-In-Time Count

Here’s video of the ABC22 report:

 



Point-in-Time Count Shows Homelessness in Vermont Continues to Increase

Posted April 16, 2014

Annual one night count of state’s homeless population finds one in four are children. 

MONTPELIER, VT – On a single night in January, 1,556 Vermonters were found to be homeless.  The 2014 Point-In-Time Count, released today by the Chittenden County Continuum of Care and the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness (the Balance of State Continuum of Care), showed a 9.27% increase in the state’s homeless population from 2013.

The report comes from data collected from the Annual Point-in-Time (PIT) Count, an unduplicated count of persons experiencing homelessness in both unsheltered and sheltered places which took place on January 28, 2014.  The Count and its findings were supported by the Continuums of Care, which are comprised of homeless and human service organizations, housing agencies, and other partners that strive to eliminate homelessness throughout Vermont, as well as the Agency of Human Services, the City of Burlington, the Vermont State Housing Authority, and United Ways of Vermont.

The Point-In-Time’s findings comes on the heels of two separate reports which also showed an increase in the state’s homeless numbers.

The Office of Economic Opportunity’s annual One Night Shelter Count from December showed a 7% increase from the previous year in emergency shelter use, and a 14% increase in transitional housing use.  The report found a 62% overall increase in shelter use since 2009.

Last October, the U.S. Department of Education issued a report finding that from FY 2010 to FY 2012  Vermont had a 35% increase in the number of homeless students, one of the sharpest increases in the country.

Key Notes:

  • Total found homeless on one night increased by 9.27% from 2013’s count.
  • 371 persons, 24%, or nearly one in four of those counted, were children.
  • The number of unsheltered persons, those living outdoors or taking shelter in a place unfit for human habitation, was 166 persons, an increase of 58% from 2013.
  • 227 persons reported as a victim of domestic violence.  Children are not included in the domestic violence count.
  • Only those who meet HUD’s definition of homelessness are included in the report.  The Point-In-Time does not count those precariously housed, doubled up with friends and family, or couch surfing.

Every year, the Point-in-Time Count provides a snapshot of how many people are homeless on a single night. The findings are used by the State’s Continuums of Care for in their funding applications to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  The PIT Count allows local communities and state policy makers to understand current problems of homelessness, target limited funding to appropriate housing and services, and track progress.

Read more about the Point-In-Time Count numbers here.

Statewide Numbers Summary.

 



Point-In-Time Count of Vermont’s Homeless Starts Tonight

Posted January 28, 2014

Tonight is the start of this year’s Point-In-Time Count.  The PIT Count allows local communities and state policy makers to understand current problems of homelessness, target limited funding to appropriate services, and track progress.

As stipulated in the HEARTH/McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, the PIT Count also allows us to secure funding from HUD Continuum of Care and Emergency Solutions Programs, HHS Runaway & Homeless Youth Programs, Veterans Affairs Homeless Programs, and others.

If you are homeless tonight, please call 2-1-1 to make sure you are counted.  By being counted, you are helping keep resources in our communities.

NOTE – as always: Survivors of domestic/sexual violence and households with a person with HIV/AIDS do not need to provide initials of names or date of birth (If possible, please provide YEAR).

This year’s point-in-time counts those homeless from 6:00PM (Tuesday, January 28th) to 6:00AM (Wednesday, January 29th).

Once survey forms are competed they must be sent to your local CoC coordinator, or designated contact by no later than February 5th, 2014.  Local coordinators in the Balance of State Continuum will then send the forms to VCEH Chair Jeanne Montross.

Your local coordinator’s name and address should be listed at the top of the PIT survey form.  For a list of your local coordinators for this year’s Point-In-Time, click here.

In order to meet federal deadlines and requirements, it is important to make sure your forms are sent to your local coordinator by February 5th, 2014.

 



Upcoming Point-In-Time Training Events

Posted January 8, 2014

Four dates have been scheduled for individuals to become trained and ready for this year’s Point-In-Time (PIT) Count.

The next PIT count of Vermont’s homeless population is taking place later this month on January 29-30, 2014. The PIT Count allows local communities and state policy makers to understand current problems of homelessness, target limited funding to appropriate housing and services, and track progress.  It also serves to highlight the need to ensure all Vermonters have safe, adequate, physically accessible, and affordable housing.

There are four dates to choose from to become ready for the count.  Webinars will take place on the 10th, 14th, and 24th.  An in-person training will occur after the next Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness  meeting taking place in Randolph on the 21st.  The training will allow folks to learn about the changes in this year’s PIT form and to become better prepared for implementing a successful and accurate count.

Please respond to this Doodle poll to pick which option works best for you, and help us be better prepared for knowing the numbers in each training session.

Prior to each training event, phone and log-in information for the webinars will be posted on the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness  website.

 



HUD: Homelessness on the Rise in Vermont

Posted November 27, 2013

According to a report from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Vermont has seen an increase in homelessness from 2012 to 2013. The HUD study showed nationally a decline in the total numbers of those homeless.  The HUD study uses data from a count conducted on a single night, known as the Point-in-Time.  This report is from data collected last January. Vermont Public Radio has more:

While the number of homeless people in Vermont went up from 1,160 to 1,454, the number of “unsheltered” homeless Vermonters (those who aren’t in emergency shelters or transitional housing) went down from 223 to 184.

With decreased federal assistance – Department of Children and Families Commissioner Dave Yacavone said Vermont lost 774 Section 8 vouchers – state and local services have to do more to keep up.

One of those services is the John Graham Shelter in Vergennes, which opened additional space this year. Director Elizabeth Ready says the new transitional housing facility is already occupied.

“We’re also seeing people staying for longer periods,” Ready said. “An average of 60 days, people are staying at the shelter, and we used to see people staying like 21 days.”

The federal report comes after Ready and other community representatives gave Gov. Peter Shumlin a set of recommendations for how the state can help bring down the number of homeless Vermonters.

Listen and read the full VPR report here.

 



Point-in-Time Count of Homelessness in Vermont

Posted September 18, 2013

The next Point-in-Time (PIT) count of Vermont’s homeless population will take place on January 29, 2014.  The PIT Count allows local communities and state policy makers to understand current problems of homelessness, target limited funding to appropriate housing and services, and track progress.  It also serves to highlight the need to ensure all Vermonters have safe, adequate, physically accessible, and affordable housing.

The Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness will be discussing preliminary planning of the 2014 Point-in-Time at their next monthly meeting on October 15 in Randolph.

See also: Summary by county of the 2013 Point-in-Time.

 



Measuring the need: Count of Vermont’s homeless helps refine services

Posted February 11, 2013

The Point-in-Time Count took place during the last Wednesday in January. The objective of the HUD-required count is to assess the number of sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals on one night.

By: Matt Ryan, Free Press Staff Writer. Reposted from the Burlington Free Press, February 10, 2013. 

“Clipboard in hand, Stefanie Comstock called out to the folks lining the narrow, pale green corridor. They had come to the Salvation Army for dinner and she had come to count them. Specifically the people unlikely to be documented elsewhere during the annual point in time homeless count; the people she expected to spend the night outdoors, perhaps in a tent, or a car or an abandoned building.

While the guests chowed down on lasagna, Comstock and two colleagues from Burlington’s Safe Harbor Clinic went table to table. They didn’t take names, but they did take initials and birth dates, so as to avoid duplication in the final tally.

By dinner’s end, they had counted 41 people.

“A good number don’t know where they are staying tonight…”

Link to Full Burlington Free Press Article 

View PDF of Full Burlington Free Press Article

 



The 2013 Annual Point-in-Time count form & resources

Posted January 18, 2013

The Vermont Statewide Point-in-Time (PIT) Count is an unduplicated count of persons experiencing homelessness in both unsheltered and sheltered (in a homeless program) places on a single night. The PIT Count allows local communities and state policy makers to understand current problems of homelessness, target limited funding to appropriate housing and services, and track progress.

As stipulated in the HEARTH/McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, the PIT Count also allows us in securing funding from HUD Continuum of Care & Emergency Solutions Programs, HHS Runaway & Homeless Youth Programs, Veterans Affairs Homeless Programs, and others.  

Please see final 2013 PIT form and the new 2013 User’s Guide attached and distribute widely. The User’s Guide outlines the specific times to conduct the count for both sheltered and unsheltered populations. 

2013 VT PIT Form

2013 PIT User’s Guide

If you have any questions, contact your local coordinator or:

Daniel Blankenship
Vermont State Housing Authority 
1 Prospect Street, Montpelier, VT 05602
Main Office:  (802) 828-3295 * Direct:  (802) 828-0294
Email:  Daniel@vsha.org * Website:  www.vsha.org

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