Homeless Population is Declining in Broward County
- 2,766 homeless identified in 2014 count -
DATE: May 30, 2014
CONTACT: Michael Wright, Administrator
Broward County Homeless Initiative Partnership
PHONE: 954-357-6167
EMAIL: mwright@broward.org  

BROWARD COUNTY, Fla. - This year's Broward County Point-in-Time Count, conducted over a three-day period on January 21-23, showed that overall, the number of homeless decreased by 1.6 percent, from 2,810 to 2,766. The federal government identifies homelessness as those individuals living in places not meant for human habitation, emergency shelters or transitional housing programs.

An additional 716
persons were counted as “at-risk” of homelessness, which is generally defined as an individual or family seeking permanent housing but stayed the previous night at an institution; a hotel paid by self; a jail, prison or detention center; a family/friend’s house; or someone who was facing imminent eviction; and/or in foster care. The count is required by U.S. Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Florida's Office on Homelessness.

The number of unsheltered persons increased by 5.3 percent from 829 to 879, compared to the same count done in January 2013. The increase in the unsheltered count is attributed to employing the 100k Homes Campaign three-day survey process to identify chronically homeless as compared to one day in previous counts. This new campaign, conducted in late January, created a registry of homeless people in Broward County and lined up a supply of housing and service resources to help them.

The Broward Regional Health Planning Council (BRHPC), Hands on Broward, 2-1-1, Broward County Homeless Initiative Partnership Advisory (Partnership) Board and Broward Sheriff’s Office headed up the 2014 Point-in-Time Count effort in collaboration with approximately 210 volunteers, consisting of County staff, homeless services agencies, five municipal law enforcement agencies, individuals, advocates, and faith-based, foster care, youth and community-based organizations. Trained volunteers fanned out across the County to homeless encampments, labor pools, meal programs and homeless shelters. The results were tabulated by Dr. Patrick Hardigan of Nova Southeastern University.

Regine Kanzki of BRHPC notes that counting homeless individuals and families in a 24-hour period is challenging, and families often don’t come forward due to fear of having their children removed. In addition, unsheltered homeless individuals living outdoors move frequently to avoid detection and can be difficult to locate and some refuse to be counted despite reassurance as to the purpose of the data. However, Ms. Kanski was pleased to note that over 64 percent of 879 unsheltered persons completed a 100K Homes assessment and 13 chronic households have already been permanently housed.

The lead agency on reducing homelessness in the community, Broward County’s Homeless Initiative Partnership in the Community Partnership Division, identified several factors that contributed to the reduction in this year’s count, including identification and implementation of efficiencies in programs over the last two years. The division also indicated that responses by non-continuum affiliated agencies/programs were down during this year’s count.

"The newly formed Continuum of Care Board and Homeless Lead Agency will analyze this year’s data and establish objectives to address new and existing challenges and meet the needs of homeless residents. The Homeless Lead Agency takes this opportunity to thank all who participated in making the 2014 Homeless Point-In-Time Count a success," said Michael Wright, administrator for the Broward County Homeless Initiative Partnership.

About Homeless Initiative Partnership
The Homeless Initiative Partnership (HIP), a section within the Community Partnerships Division of the Broward County Human Services Department, plans and coordinates services for homeless persons, and serves as liaison to the Homeless Initiative Partnership Advisory Board, which acts as agent for the Board of County Commissioners in the development and implementation of homeless assistance programs. HIP is also the lead agency for the County’s Homeless Continuum of Care, a network of organizations, advocates, residents and businesses that plan programs to help alleviate homelessness in Broward County. The goal is to end chronic and veteran homelessness by 2016, and family and youth homelessness by 2020. For more information, call 954-357-6101 or visit Homeless Services.
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