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Thread: counting the homeless?

  1. #1
    Member
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    counting the homeless?

    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...

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Emeritus Chet's avatar
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    Question...

    Did they add shelter populations to the street count?

  3. #3
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    shelter & street count

    In Dallas, there was a shelter count, and a street count-same night. The two numbers are added together for total homeless, but the two populations can be split out from one another.

    In Irving, we only found those who were living in our two "shelters". Mostly due to ignorance about where and how to look for the "street" population.

  4. #4
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Find your night beat patrol sergeants and buy them a beer. They probably know not only where the homeless are, but their names as well. I believe that, in general, the homeless graviate to larger areas with more services and opportunities. But I also believe that Irving has more than 34.

  5. #5
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    A beer?

    That's not a bad idea....

    I think our city is in denial about there being a homeless issue. This population may not be more than a couple of hundred people strong, but I do believe that there is a homeless population in Irving..

    We've had police involvement in our one night count, and we had officers escort us to (imagined) possible locations and so forth, but the police command doesn't appear to know where to find such a population.

    Perhaps this is due to political politeness... if we don't admit there is a problem, there isn't one?

    Perhaps getting together with some of the patrol officers and sergeants in a relaxed, informal, and more personal setting instead of meeting with Captains at City Hall would be a more effective way of getting useful information from the PD.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    Exactly...try it..you'll like it. But you might learn more than you want to know.

  7. #7
    Member Mary's avatar
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    You also might try talking to the homeless themselves. Hang out at a soup kitchen. While the heavy approach will NOT work with these people just visiting with them could get you some answers.

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