Jackie Janosko, Research Analyst, CT Coalition to End Homelessness
One of the questions we are often asked at the CT Coalition to End Homelessness is “How many homeless people are there in CT?” The annual Point-in-Time (PIT) Count is possibly the best tool we have to answer that question. Every year on a night in January, a small army of volunteers goes out in the state to get a real count of all people who are experiencing homelessness. In 2017, this happened on January 24th, and we are happy to report that this is the lowest count ever recorded in the state of Connecticut. Even more exciting is that it’s clear that the joint efforts of our providers and state partners are working, as Connecticut is reducing homelessness at a rate of over two times the national average.
There was a lot of work that went into preparing for the count this year. This was the first year that we used mobile technology to replace the old paper surveys. The volunteers who were out on the streets and in shelters used a mobile app on their phones to conduct the surveys, which made a big difference in how much easier it was to collect the data. We also started the process earlier than ever – going all the way back to July of 2016.
What else did we find?
- Homelessness is down 13 percent since the 2016 count, with 3,387 total people experiencing homelessness who were identified on the night of the count.
- The number of chronically homeless people (those experiencing long-term homelessness and living with severe disabilities) decreased 60 percent since 2014, and the vast majority are already on the road to permanent housing.
- Family homelessness decreased 13 percent from 2016, with a count of 392 families experiencing homelessness.
- Only 415 people were counted as “unsheltered,” representing a 38 percent decrease from last year.
In addition to the CT PIT count, we also took on a second statewide homeless youth count to complement the first youth count we completed in 2015. Connecticut’s second count of homeless youth showed some 4,396 unaccompanied youth age 24 and under experiencing homelessness in our state. This effort was a huge success thanks to the generous support of time and technology from Microsoft, who helped in the design and development of a youth-specific mobile application, increasing the accuracy and amount of data we were able to collect.
The full 2017 Point-in-Time Count and Youth Count report is available on CCEH’s website, and can be downloaded anytime here. For more information on CT’s PIT work, or to volunteer for the count in 2018 (which, yes, we have already started planning), please contact me anytime! We are always open to making the process better, and we are looking forward to seeing what 2018 holds for our work in ending homelessness in Connecticut.
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