TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) – Fewer Hoosier families are on the street, that’s according to the 2014 Point-in-Time Homeless Count.
The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority have released the statewide findings that were conducted on January 29, 2014.
The count reflected a two percent decrease in overall homelessness from last year, with a total of 5,971 persons without a home on January 29th.
“They try to pick a time when most people who are homeless would have a shelter to be in, and they are hoping that gives them the largest count,” said Bonnie Wallace, Director of Development at the Light House Mission in Terre Haute.
According to the report, there has been a steady reduction in numbers signified in a 6% overall decrease since 2010, with a 12% decrease from 2013.
Wallace, who works with the homeless population, on an every day basis, said the number may not be an accurate representation.
“They try to count the homeless but they are a kind of evasive people. They have ways of getting around being counted or even identified,” she said.
Also certain living conditions are taken into consideration.
“All the people who are couch surfing, people who have two and three families living in one house together, according to HUD they are not homeless,” said Wallace.
In Terre Haute the numbers are not decreasing but doing just the opposite.
“We know that the economy has not gotten better so we don’t understand why they are saying there are less homeless people,” said Wallace.
The Light House Mission has already seen an increase in those looking for refuge from the summer heat.
“Normally our numbers go down because people can stay in tents, and they can stay outside, but this summer we have had numbers staying up,” said Wallace.
As the number of people relying on shelters goes up so does expenses.
“In this kind of weather they are taking more than one shower. It’s how much as and electricity we need to run the lights and the cooking and the more people we have the more our costs go up,” said Wallace.
Wallace adds that the increase in the number of homeless people looking for shelter is a trend that is likely to continue throughout the summer.
Cities and counties that receive federal money to help the homeless have to report their Point-in-Time Homeless Count to the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development annually.
Wallace said that the Light House Mission is also in need of donations and volunteers during the summer months. For more on how you can help call the Light House Mission at 812-232-7001.