January 18, 2021

Annual Count Of People Experiencing Homelessness Extended In The Pandemic

Annual Count Of People Experiencing Homelessness Extended In The Pandemic

The Indianapolis Point in Time count will be conducted all week this year to assess the number of people experiencing homelessness. The count is usually taken on a single night in January.

The Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention, CHIP, leads the effort. Executive Director Chelsea Haring-Cozzi said community volunteers are not able to help this year because of COVID-19 safety measures.

“What that means is that instead of doing it on a single night, when we are able to deploy 50-70 people at a single time, it’s a much much smaller group doing it,” Harring-Cozzi said.

The official date of the count will be January 18, and it will include the number of people in shelters, transitional housing and safe havens. Professional street outreach teams will then assess how many people are living unsheltered during the week. 

A committee approved the changes to the count, as required for communities that receive federal funding.

Haring-Cozzi said the homeless population is difficult to measure.

“We are looking at data throughout the year to really understand, particularly in a year like this, how homelessness might be changing in Indianapolis,” Haring-Cozzi said.

The information is used to inform policy and assess progress. 

Last year’s PIT Count was conducted on Jan. 22, 2020. Key findings of the 2020 Count include:

  • The total number of individuals experiencing homelessness remained relatively unchanged, rising just over 1% from 1,567 individuals in 2019 to 1,588 in 2020.
  • Racial disparities persist in the Marion County’s homeless population: 54% of the people counted in 2020 were Black or African American, despite only making up 28% of residents in Marion County.
  • A 12% decrease of families experiencing homelessness.
  • An 18% decrease of veterans who were homeless.
  • There was a 24% increase in the number of people age 62 and older who were experiencing homelessness, climbing from 116 in 2019 to 176 in 2020.
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