INDIANAPOLIS – On Wednesday, January 24, 2018 the Indiana Balance of State Continuum of Care (BoSCoC) and the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP) will conduct the 2018 Point-in-Time (PIT) Count in Indiana. Under the direction of these agencies, and local coordinators, hundreds of volunteers from around the state will conduct the count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals in all 92 counties.
“The PIT count is one way for us to obtain a better understanding of homelessness in our state,” said Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch, who serves as the board chair for the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA). “In addition to a physical count, this provides local organizations and volunteers the opportunity to conduct direct outreach to Hoosiers in need of permanent housing.”
The PIT Count is a requirement by the U.S. Department for Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for every community receiving federal funds for programs to aid the homeless. While the amount of federal allocations is not directly based on the findings of the PIT Count, HUD considers the outcomes and justifications for upwards and downward swings as additional information for tracking purposes and future strategies on how to house persons permanently.
Earlier this month, HUD announced a record $2 billion to support more than 7,300 local homeless assistance programs across the nation. In Indiana, 95 local programs received funding that totaled $19.3 million. The Indiana BoSCoC received an increase of approximately $1 million more as a result of their Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) application.
“HUD stands with our local partners who are working each and every day to house and serve our most vulnerable neighbors,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “We know how to end homelessness and it starts with embracing a housing-first approach that relies upon proven strategies that offer permanent housing solutions to those who may otherwise be living in our shelters and on our streets.”
Agency officials attribute the continued reduction in Indiana’s BoS homeless population to an increase in Rapid Rehousing programs and the Housing First initiative. Results from the 2017 BoS PIT Count, which included each Indiana county besides Marion and St. Joseph*, revealed a significant decrease in the overall homeless population (14%) and the number of chronically homeless individuals (29%) and veterans (55%).
“Through housing-first approaches that focus on providing permanent, affordable housing as quickly as possible, we are supplying Hoosiers with both housing and the supportive wraparound services needed in order to avoid returning to homelessness,” said Jacob Sipe, who serves as Executive Director of IHCDA. “Additionally, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been very effective in their efforts to house veterans and reduce veteran homelessness.”
In support of the Housing First approach, Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed into law Senate Bill 242 last summer that creates Indiana’s housing first program. The program provides rental assistance and support services to individuals and families with a serious persistent mental illness, a chronic chemical addiction, or serious and persistent mental illness with a co-occurring chronic chemical addiction.
IHCDA administers the Housing First program. They are also the collaborative applicant for the Indiana CoCBoS which is charged with aligning the state’s homeless service and prevention programs in 91 of 92 Indiana counties. The Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP) is responsible for aligning service and prevention and conducting the PiT counts in Marion County.