Homeless Census Shows Improvement, More Work Needed
The number of homeless in Clark County decreased by 22 percent during the last two years, continuing the positive trend seen since the number of homeless here peaked in 2009.
However, officials cautioned that the fight against homelessness is far from over as the homeless count conducted over two days in January revealed 7,355 homeless individuals in our community, including 3,034 unsheltered homeless. The survey also estimated that 33,882 Southern Nevadans experienced homelessness at least once during the previous year.
“The results of the 2013 homeless census show that we have made great strides in our efforts to help families and individuals get back on their feet but there is still a lot more work to be done,” said Tyrone Thompson, regional initiatives coordinator for the SNRPC Committee on Homelessness. “Over two chilly nights in January more than 7,000 Southern Nevadans were homeless, including more than 3,000 who were sleeping on sidewalks, next to railroad tracks, in back alleys or some other dangerous place that no one should have to call home.”
In 2009, the count showed there were 13,338 homeless in Clark County. In 2011, there were 9,432 homeless counted, a 29 percent decrease over two years. The January census showed homelessness in Clark County has declined by almost 45 percent during the past four years.
The continued decrease in the number of homeless was affected by a variety of factors including the various programs and services provided by the state and local governments, and area nonprofit organizations. For example, during the last two years 563 homeless veterans moved into permanent housing through the federal Veteran Affairs Supportive Housing program known as HUD VASH. Also, an additional 999 homeless people were placed in permanent housing through programs run by local nonprofit organizations or local governments – this number includes 116 chronically homeless people who were housed within the last 100 days.
The SNRPC’s 2013 Homeless Census & Survey was conducted Jan. 23 and 24 with the assistance of dozens of volunteers who fanned out across Clark County to count the homeless. The count, which is conducted every other year, is a requirement for federal grants for homeless programs. Southern Nevada received more than $13 million from these grants during the past two years. The homeless census also provides key data indicating the need for such programs and provides a benchmark to measure regional efforts. This was the sixth homeless census conducted in Clark County. For more information on homelessness in the community, visit the website, www.helphopehome.org.