Fewer than than 6,000 Hoosiers were recorded as homeless this year, a two percent decrease from 2013. The state’s homeless population has seen a steady decline over the last four years.
The Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority conducts what’s called a “point-in-time” count each January. Coordinating with homeless shelters and outreach groups around the state, the IHCDA determines the number of homeless people on a single night.
IHCDA Community Services Director Lori Dimick says the count doesn’t provide absolute accuracy but gives the state a good idea of its homeless population. And since 2010, the population has decreased six percent.
Dimick says that’s in part because of a strategy employed by homelessness assistance programs that puts people back in permanent housing right away, rather than lingering in shelters.
“Not waiting for people to get ready for housing – housing them and providing services," Dimick said. "It isn’t just housing and just leaving them. It’s housing them and providing the services they need – case management, life skills – helping them prepare to keep the housing that they’re in, stabilizing it.”
Dimick says credit is also due to the Department of Veterans Affairs, which has helped keep veterans off the streets. The homeless veteran population dropped this year by more than four percent.