Homelessness in Roanoke Region Declines for 5th Year

The Blue Ridge Interagency Council on Homelessness, the governing body for homeless services in the region, leads an annual Point in Time (PIT) count for homeless persons in the Roanoke Region (Alleghany County, Botetourt County, Craig County, Roanoke County, the City of Covington, the City of Roanoke and the City of Salem).

This year’s PIT count was conducted on the night of Jan. 25, with all individuals experiencing homelessness in the region on this night being counted and voluntarily surveyed. This year’s total count was 267, a decrease of 19.3 percent over last year (331).

This year marks the fifth consecutive year that the overall homeless count in the region has declined and the decrease (19.3 percent) is the largest single year reduction since 2013.

Significant and consistent progress is being made across all sub-populations. Homelessness among individuals in families with children is down 22 percent this year over last. Chronic homelessness is down 34.2 percent and veteran homelessness decreased by 28.9 percent this year over 2016. The full report can be found at http://councilofcommunityservices.org/2017PIT/.

PIT counts of sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness occur annually in localities across the country. This count takes place on a single night in late January each year. The data collected provides valuable information to area service providers, policy makers, and the general public on the individual and family challenges and barriers associated with homelessness.

In 2012, the region’s leadership and service providers began transforming the way services are provided in the community. As a result, since 2012, the overall homeless count has been reduced by 52.4 percent. Chronic homelessness has decreased by 67.8 percent. Family homeless is down by 54.0 percent. Veteran homelessness has decreased by 54.3 percent. System-level collaboration and investments in rapid re-housing strategies, targeted homelessness prevention services, and Housing First models implemented through permanent supportive housing programs have produced these tremendous successes.

The Blue Ridge Interagency Council on Homelessness and the region’s service providers are committed to continuing to invest in best practice service models and in expanding the permanent housing solutions available to individuals in crisis. These efforts will continue until all of our neighbors have a safe, stable place to call home.

For more information, please contact Paula Prince, Chair, Blue Ridge Interagency Council on Homelessness, at plprince@jchs.edu or Matt Crookshank, Director of Homeless Services, Council of Community Services, at mattc@chrcblueridge.org