LTHC Homeless Services keeps track of how many homeless people we serve in our programs, but how do we know how many more homeless there are in our community? We rely on the Point-in-Time (PIT) Count to help identify people who may need access to services.
On Thursday, January 26th, LTHC staff will participate in this annual event to identify sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons. “Sheltered” means the individuals are in emergency shelter. “Unsheltered,” on the other hand, means the individuals are living in places unfit for human habitation — which could be abandoned buildings, in parks or under bridges, or in cars.
The count is a massive under-taking in Tippecanoe and the surrounding counties. Volunteers will walk the streets/trails/parks… all in effort to find persons who need services. Those who are unsheltered will be connected with outreach workers who will provide food, water, blankets, and other resources to connect them to emergency shelter and other housing solution.
In Tippecanoe County, LTHC Homeless Services is part of team of agencies that coordinate the PIT, which also includes Wabash Valley Alliance PATH Street Outreach, City of Lafayette Community and Homeless Outreach, and the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority. The goal of the Point-in-Time is to not only report the number of homeless persons we have in our community, but to raise awareness about homelessness and the additional resources that are needed to help solve this problem.
In the 2016 PIT in Indiana, over 5,700 people were identified as homeless — of which 23 percent were children. While the large majority of those identified at the state level were in some sort of homeless program, the outreach workers did identify almost 700 people who were living unsheltered.
Last year, in Tippecanoe County, the team found 49 unsheltered individuals which was a 63 percent increase from 2015!
However, since 2013, our community has seen a 21 percent decrease in homeless for our region which shows our combined efforts at ending homelessness are having a positive impact.
For more information on the local Point-in-Time Count, please contact me and I’ll put you in touch with Kurt Harker, PATH Street Outreach, who is leading this effort.
Together, we can end homelessness!