Homelessness Increasing in Yakima County
The annual Point in Time Homeless Community Survey is out and it found increases in homelessness in Yakima over the last year. The Yakima County Department of Human Services conducted the survey on February 24.
The 2022 survey included 670 people experiencing homeless in Yakima County, an increase of 4% from the previous 2021 PIT Survey. Of the 670 people counted, 183 were unsheltered, 59 were in a Sanctioned Encampment, and 428 were sheltered in either an Emergency Shelter or Transitional Housing. A press release says the number of unsheltered people decreased by 5% from the previous year while the number in Emergency Shelters increased by 40% from the previous year.
The number of chronically homeless people is up as well
The number of chronically homelessness households who were unsheltered this year increased by 13%, or 14 people, from the previous year. Officials says "chronically homeless is defined as an individual with a disability who lives either in a place not meant for human habitation, a safe haven, or in an emergency shelter." In 2022, there was a large number of people who were counted, but not surveyed which is required for there to be a classification of Chronically Homeless. Even with 23% of the population not being surveyed, 231 people were identified as being chronically homeless –a 5% increase from 2021. The Chronically Homeless population represents 42% of the overall homeless population but it is the most visible and resource intensive population to serve.
The survey is taken every year and usually sees increases
A press release says the Point in Time count, also referred to as ‘PIT’ or simply ‘the count’, is conducted annually throughout Yakima County to estimate the number of people experiencing homelessness on a single night. The local count is part of a nationwide data collection effort required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD officials estimate the homeless population is actually three times the number of those actually counted.
The survey is important for a many reasons
The data obtained through the Point in Time count enables service agencies and local governments to spot trends in homelessness and to evaluate the success of existing community efforts. It also serves as a planning tool,which agencies and their partners can use to develop programs and services to meet the needs of those who are homeless and establishes a community benchmark of need when applying for Federal, State and local funding.