I work for the City of Irving, TX, a "suburb" of Dallas.
At present, an "alliance" of homeless service providers in Dallas is attempting to try and organize more of a county-wide effort in tracking and serving the homeless population.
In an effort to be cooperative, and to fill in the appropriate blanks in our Consolidated Plan, our city agreed to participate in a "One Night Count" of homeless folks in our city.
Out of a population of 191,000 people, we found 34 homeless adults-all of them either in the care of Irving's Transitional Housing or Domestic Violence providers.
We didn't find a single person on the streets, even though I've seen about a dozen different individuals who appear to be homeless since then.
Does anyone have any ideas on how to track down this hidden population?
Is it possible that, in cities with minimal supportive services, homeless folks just pass through?
Or is it more likely that there are hidden camps in the riverine greenbelt?
Our feeling is that a lot of "The Homeless" in Irving, and perhaps in most suburbs, are living doubled up with family and friends. How do you count this population? Not for HUD purposes, but so that we have some clear idea of the population that could benefit from Homebuyer assistance programs and job training efforts.
We are planning a three month effort to track and survey any homeless people that either the city or its service providers come in contact with. We have a few ideas on how to do some outreach, but I am fishing for more...