Homeless in Summit County – an overview on Homelessness

As of 2013, the number of homeless individuals living in Akron/Barberton and Summit County totaled 862 (Source: Point in Time Count 2013 Report).

This includes the total number of homeless persons in emergency and transitional shelters, safe havens, and the unsheltered.

–  19 of these 862 individuals were unsheltered, living outdoors

–  107 were living in emergency shelters that gave them a   temporary place to stay.

–  171 were living in transitional housing, also temporary.

–  572 persons over the age 24 were homeless.

Of the total homeless population, 114 of these individuals were considered to be chronically homeless.

Children and Young Adults

Some of the most startling statistics found include the number of homeless children.

The total number of homeless children (under age 18) was 207. This includes children that were unsheltered or living in emergency or transitional shelters or safe havens.

–  10 of these children were unsheltered, having no place to stay.

–  72 were in emergency shelters

–  114 in transitional housing.

The number of homeless person’s ages 18-24 was 83; 11 of them being unsheltered.

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Types of Homeless…

The total number of homeless veterans counted was 97.

The severely mentally ill totaled 155.

Those with chronic substance abuse was 184.

Persons with HIV/AIDS was 11.

Victims of Domestic Violence totaled 104.

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How are we Doing?

Knowing the statistics on this issue, the question that arises is what are we doing to tackle this issue and how is it working?

Have we been getting better or worse over the years? Is homelessness increasing or decreasing in the city? Are the countless efforts paying off?

Comparing the past 5 Point in Time Counts (PIT) gives a little insight.

862 homeless were counted in 2013, but one year prior there were 813.

That adds 49 new homeless from 2012-2013.

In 2013 the rate of homelessness was the highest it had been since 2009, where it was 820.  So homeless rates are only going up.

–  820 were homeless in 2009 (217 chronically and 82 veterans)

–  859 people were homeless in 2010 (218 chronically and 116 veterans)

–  857 people were homeless in 2011 (210 were chronically homeless and 76 were veterans)

(For more in depth review please visit – PIT Summaries from 2009-2013)

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Project Rise Totals

Project Rise, who reaches out to homeless children and teens within the Akron Public School System, counted 800 students in the Akron area struggling with the issue of homelessness in 2010. These students may not have been counted by the PIT for various reasons. Some homeless families stay under the radar by living with relatives, friends, or in their cars. Others are child/teen runaways who live with either friends, boyfriends, girlfriends or grandparents.

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How Does Homelessness Happen?

Many wonder ‘How does a person become homeless?’ and some take it further questioning, ‘How can we help these people so that they are not homeless?’

These questions, when asked, open up Pandora’s Box to a world that even experts have a hard time figuring out. It’s a multi-faceted problem without a one-solution fits all answer.

Groups full of the “movers and shakers” in this area who deal with this issue on a daily basis, the people running the homeless shelters, call centers and doing the research in the Akron area continually meet. Organizations such as Info Line Inc and others work around the clock to control the issue.

Groups of people (charity and government workers, plus many volunteers) go out once a year for the Point in Time Count to count the area’s homeless. They divide up all of the different areas across Summit County and delegate search spots for each group.

Not only that, they get detailed information on each individual, providing a one-day “snapshot” of what homelessness looks like in our community.

Continued Next Week

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