Report findings to be presented on April 5th to Chester County’s Decade to Doorways network of homeless service providers; public is invited
A report compiled by the Chester County Department of Community Development (DCD) and the Decade to Doorways partnership has found that 555 people were identified as experiencing homelessness in Chester County in the early hours of January 25, 2018. This represents a decrease from the past three years. A summary of the findings were reported at the Chester County Commissioners’ Sunshine Meeting last week, and full details of the report will be presented at the County’s Decade to Doorways Partnership meeting on Thursday, April 5th at the Chester County Government Services Center.The Point-in-Time Count is a national effort mandated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to determine the number of people experiencing homelessness. This includes individuals and families who are residing in emergency shelters and transitional living facilities, as well as unsheltered individuals on the street or in places not meant for sleeping.Within Chester County, the Point-in-Time Count is one component of understanding homelessness, and part of the proactive strategy in Decade to Doorways: The Community’s Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness in Chester County. The County has participated in the Point-in-Time Count for more than ten years.Of the 555 individuals experiencing homelessness on the evening of January 25, 2018, 542 men, women, and children were housed in emergency or transitional shelters. Of the 542 that were housed 213 were veterans. The street count found 13 individuals who were unsheltered (sleeping in cars, tents or places not meant for human habitation). A majority of these individuals were found in West Chester. Chester County’s 2018 Point-in-Time Count shows a decrease in those experiencing homelessness for three consecutive years. In 2016, 682 individuals were counted, and in 2017 the number was 570.Lauren Campbell, Decade to Doorways Administrator, said, “The decline in numbers this year can be attributed to several different factors. These include an increase in resources like Rapid Re-Housing, more programs that focus on keeping people housed once they exit homelessness, and an emphasis on assuring that the most scarce resources like permanent supportive housing or vouchers go to those that are the most vulnerable, so that they don’t end up homeless again.“The collaboration of our homeless service providers is also very significant,” added Campbell. “We have a great group of agencies that tirelessly work together to house our neighbors in need.”The Decade to Doorways Partnership Meeting, which will include a detailed presentation on the Chester County Point-in-Time Count and the new Decade to Doorways Operational Plan, will be held from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, April 5, 2018 in the cafeteria of the Government Services Center. The public is encouraged to attend. For additional information on Chester County’s 2018 Point-in-Time Count, the Decade to Doorways Partnership and homelessness in Chester County contact Gene Suski, Community Services Manager for the Chester County Department of Community Development at 610-344-6900 or go to the Decade to Doorways website at decadetodoorways.org.