Chronic Homelessness Significantly Drops in Utah
May. 13, 2010
SALT LAKE CITY - Lieutenant Governor Greg Bell and the Division of Housing and Community Development will release the results of a snapshot survey showing Utah's homeless population during a press conference on Friday, May 14 at 10:30 a.m. in room 240 of the State Capitol. The survey reflects a decrease by four percent in the total number of homeless and a decrease of 42 percent in chronic homelessness since last year.
In Salt Lake County where nearly 400 housing units have been provided for the chronically homeless, there has been a 46 percent reduction from last year. Since 2005, chronic homelessness has decreased 57 percent. This has allowed private and non-profit agencies who provide services to the homeless, to focus their efforts on housing them.
The decrease in the chronically homeless population from January 2009 to January 2010 can be attributed to the State's Housing First Initiative. In addition to Salt Lake City's 100 units at Sunrise Metro Apartments (2007) and 84 units at Grace Mary Manor (2008), 201 apartments opened at Palmer Court June 2009. Additionally, Freedom Landing, a housing facility for veterans opened in January and Kelly Benson Apartments with 59 units and 70 beds is scheduled to open later this month in West Valley City.
In Rural Utah, Newhouse Apartments with 17 units opened in February in Price and Avalon House with 32 apartments is scheduled to open in June in Helper. Tooele is currently in the process of building housing for the homeless.
"Real collaboration between government, non-profit and private agencies is making a difference. We expect to see another significant decrease in our chronic homelessness population as new housing comes online this year and next year," said Lt. Governor Greg Bell, Chairman of the State Homeless Coordinating Committee. "Housing our chronically homeless population with permanent supportive housing and case management is significantly lessening the burden on our emergency shelter system, allowing them to serve those who need services for a temporary amount of time."
The Point in Time count is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as part of an effort to collect data on the homeless and their use of services. HUD defines homeless as persons who are sleeping in places not meant for human habitation, sleeping in emergency shelters or living in transitional housing but were previously living on the streets. Persons may also be considered homeless if, within seven days, they are being evicted from private dwelling units or being discharged from institutions with no expectation of having a nighttime residence upon eviction or discharge.
The point-in-time count is a method to count the number of homeless persons at a particular place, within a specific time period, on a given day. In Utah, 64 homeless service providers, The U.S. Census Bureau, DHS, DWS, law enforcement, firemen, EMTs, hospital/clinic administrators, library employees, and private citizens all participated in the count.
In 2004, Utah embraced a nationwide movement and developed and is implementing the State's strategy "HousingWorks" to end chronic homelessness within 10-years. Under this model, chronically homeless citizens go from the streets or homeless shelters, into their own apartments. The model also provides job training and other supports to help tenants re-integrate with society. The housing is permanent and "affordable," meaning tenants pay 30 percent of their income for rent. For more information, please visit http://www.housingworks.utah.gov.
Utah's Homeless Task Force and Ten-Year Homeless Action Plan are managed by the Division of Housing and Community Development under the Utah Department of Community and Culture.