Agencies counting homelessness this week
Published 8:02 am Tuesday, January 30, 2018
Agencies will partner this week to count the homeless population in Clark County.
Clark County Community Services Board Chairwoman Tish Shupe said the numbers will be used by the Kentucky Housing Authority to determine allocations for housing assistance programs. Because CCCS works closely with the Housing Authority, it is the facilitating agency for the survey locally.
Every year, KHC conducts a K-Count to monitor the homeless situation in Kentucky. Counts are required every other year by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), but KHC opts to conduct counts annually.
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“Results of the K-Count demonstrate the need for resources for housing and services for homeless persons in each community,” according to the KHC website. “The K-Count also helps determine how much federal funding will be awarded from HUD for homeless programs. In addition, the K-Count helps assess progress under Kentucky’s Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness and provide important information for updating the plan.”
Shupe said conducting a local K-Count is one of the only ways to bring funds to assist with programs aimed at combating homelessness into the state. Those funds can then be administered to the specific counties that have programs for the homeless.
“Clark County is fortunate because we have three agencies that work directly with the homeless,” Shupe said. “Community Services, the Beacon of Hope and Clark County Homeless Coalition all aid in getting this count annually. There are some counties that have no representation for their homeless population so their K-Count shows zero and they wouldn’t get any state funds, although they most certainly have a homeless population.”
The K-Count will be conducted statewide this week. Clark County agencies will be conducting the count Wednesday and Thursday.
Shupe said the count gives the community a “snapshot of the homeless population in the area.” She said agencies will distribute surveys to not only gauge homelessness, but this year, the surveys will work to determine the population of Clark residents who would be considered “precariously-housed.” Shupe said the definition of homelessness can be broad and fluid over the years. Agencies work with everyone from the unsheltered, those in transitional housing, those in emergency shelters and also those who are “precariously housed.”
Shupe said those would be individuals or families that are not living in a shelter or on the street, but they may be “couch surfing” or only able to stay with friends or family for days or weeks until they will be homeless. With these numbers, agencies are able to apply for grant money to provide programs that will specifically target the local homeless population, Shupe said. She said KHC will gather this new information about the precariously-housed to seek new or different funding to address that need across the state.
CCCS will work with the Beacon of Hope emergency shelter and the Clark County Homeless Coalition. Area churches and other service agencies will also assist in administering the survey.
According to the 2017 K-Count survey data, there were 4,025 people in Kentucky considered homeless in the 24-hour survey window. That number included 727 unsheltered, 2,174 in an emergency shelters and 1,122 in transitional housing.
In Clark County, there were 54 people considered homeless on the night of the 2017 survey. Of those, two were unsheltered, 41 were living in the emergency shelter and 11 were in transition housing. Those numbers accounted for at least seven children under the age of 17.
Shupe said the community can aid in getting the most accurate representation of the homeless population by making the surveys available at agencies that might serve at-risk populations and notifying people who may be homeless our unstably housed of the need to to take the survey.
For more information about the K-Count, visit kyhousing.org.