The number of people experiencing homelessness in Indianapolis increased this year. There were 1,928 individuals counted in the 2021 Point-in-Time Count, a 21 percent increase over 2020.
The count, held in January each year, is a tally of anyone experiencing homelessness in a single night. The 2021 count was done over the course of five days to avoid COVID-19 contact.
The Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention, CHIP, conducts the count and Executive Director Chelsea Haring-Cozzi said the expanded time frame likely caught more people.
“Particularly in terms of the unsheltered count is also contributing to seeing an increase in unsheltered homelessness,” Haring-Cozzi said.
More than 260 people were counted as unsheltered, up from a low of 109 in 2019.
The sheltered count was also up but there have been numerous efforts to increase emergency shelter capacity including the non-congregate hotel program. Bed capacity saw an increase of nearly 800.
HUD did not require communities to do the count and many did not. Haring-Cozzi said Indianapolis still thought it was important to continue.
“Even though this isn’t mandated,” she said, “it's important information for us to have so we better understand what’s happening in our community and we can help plan and target resources.”
Black people continue to face homelessness at a disproportionate rate. People older than 60 make up a larger portion of the count.
Some data was left out this year with a shortened survey because of the pandemic. Information including mental health, domestic violence and other issues that people face was not recorded.