Over 2,000 homeless in Idaho
September 11, 2017
Results from Idaho’s annual Point-in-Time (PIT) count show the state’s homeless population continues to hover at 2,000 on average. The count remains consistent with the numbers reported the last six years. The state’s 2017 homeless population count, completed the night of January 25, 2017, was 2,037, or 9.3 percent less than last year’s count.

For the first time, Idaho Housing and Finance Association (IHFA), the coordinator of Idaho’s PIT count, produced a graphical presentation of the data collected. The easy-to-understand infographic includes sheltered vs. unsheltered; household types; characteristics such as age, gender and race/ethnicity; and specifics regarding homeless youth (24 years old and younger). A statewide summary is available at www.idahohousing.com.

IHFA coordinates with regional housing coalitions around the state who recruit local volunteers to conduct the count in January. Data collected during the one-night “snapshot” is used to assess current and ongoing needs of Idaho’s homeless.

“The severity of January’s winter weather complicated the process of conducting this year’s count while also underscoring the importance of the team’s collective efforts to help shelter the homeless. Hundreds of volunteers helped with this year’s count and we are grateful for their dedication,” said Brady Ellis, Idaho Housing’s vice president of housing support programs. “This year’s count follows year-over-year trends and provides helpful information about Idaho’s current homeless population. It also guides and informs our efforts with partnering housing providers to reduce homelessness in Idaho.”

While the numbers collected during the Point-in-Time count are noteworthy, it’s also important to recognize the associated limitations.

The weather in January was unusually frigid with significant snow accumulations. Recruiting volunteers willing to brave the conditions and actually locating homeless people, who were availing themselves of any opportunity to escape the elements, was challenging. In addition, people unwilling to answer volunteer questions cannot be included in the count.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires an annual count of sheltered individuals and a biennial count of unsheltered individuals in order to receive federal funding to aid the homeless.