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Houston Sees Continued Reduction In Homeless Population

An annual survey shows a 60 percent reduction since 2011, and credit is being given to an effort that provides permanent housing and support services. Yet many homelsss people are still visible on Houston’s streets.

The point-in-time count and survey is done on one day — it’s a snapshot. Volunteers conduct interviews to learn more about the degrees of mental illness and substance abuse. This year’s count shows a 20 percent decrease in the number of unsheltered, chronically homeless individuals since last year. Yet we still see many people living on the streets. Marilyn Brown is with the Coalition for the Homeless.

“As more and more development happens, there’s fewer and fewer places for people to congregate. We’re seeing larger groups of people in fewer places. Our newly-homeless single adult — that’s really where we’re seeing perhaps more of a visual.”  

Brown says we need to learn more about that kind of homeless person — whether they’re victims of job loss, and whether they may not want to or know how to go into shelters. Over 100 partners help provide permanent housing solutions and support services.

“Some of our partners are housing developers or builders. We are really depending on apartment owners and property managers to open some of their units.”  
Harris and Fort Bend counties have more than twice as many homeless individuals living in shelters than on the street. That brings it to a total of 3,412 in this year’s count.

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