Category Archives: Point in Time

Annual Point-in-Time Count of Homelessness Shows Improvement

The 2016 PIT Report was released today by the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness and the Chittenden County Homeless Alliance:

On a single night in January, 1,102 Vermonters were found to be homeless. The 2016 Point-In-Time Count, released today by the Vermont Coalition to End Homelessness and the Chittenden County Homeless Alliance, showed an overall decrease in homelessness by 28% compared to the 2015 Point-in-Time Count. Of the households counted statewide 156 had children, or 20% of total households counted. That is a decrease of 22% from last year.

Statewide, a decrease if 25% was seen in chronic homelessness. “Chronic homelessness” means that people have been homeless for longer periods of time (and often homeless more often) and, that they have a disability. (The full definition is available at http://nlihc.org/article/hud-publishes-final-ruledefinition-chronic-homelessness). Over the past two years there have been many efforts to end chronic homelessness in Vermont such as the 100,000 Homes Campaign and an increase of Permanent Supportive Housing.

“Vermont experienced the “perfect storm” this winter, with help from the mild weather, low heating fuel prices and, most significantly, state and local investments over the last several years have helped alleviate and even prevent homelessness”, said MaryEllen Mendl, Co-Chair of the Coalition to End Homelessness.

The report comes from data collected for the Annual Point-in-Time (PIT) Count, an unduplicated count of persons experiencing homelessness on the night of January 26, 2016. The Count and its findings were supported by Vermont’s two Continua (Chittenden County and Balance of State). These networks are comprised of homeless and human service organizations, housing agencies, and other partners that strive to eliminate homelessness throughout Vermont, with coordination provided by the Vermont Agency of Human Services, the City of Burlington, the Vermont State Housing Authority, and United Ways of Vermont.

“While there can be issues of accuracy in counting those experiencing homelessness, the two year downward trend in the local point in time numbers seems to indicate that the collective efforts of those who have worked for many years to reduce homelessness, together with more recent partners such the UVM Medical Center, are bending the curve in the right direction. In Chittenden County, Harbor Place and the warming shelter have substantially reduced scattered site motel usage – meaning that those experiencing homelessness can be more effectively connected with services. People who have been homeless for years, often with substantial physical and mental health challenges, are being housed through the combination of a common assessment, a community wait list and the creation of new housing at Beacon Apartments. Credit also goes to the Burlington Housing Authority, which directs up to half of its rental assistance to homeless households. It’s rare that those households don’t find homes once they have that BHA assistance. BHA has also tripled its housing retention team, working to prevent people from becoming homeless,” said Margaret Bozik, Co-Chair of the Chittenden Homeless Alliance.

According to the 2015 Out of Reach Report, the Fair Market Rent (FMR) in Vermont for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,075. In Vermont, the Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a two-bedroom apartment is $1,075. In order to afford this level of rent and utilities — without paying more than 30% of income on housing — a household must earn $3,585 monthly or $43,017 annually. Assuming a 40-hour work week, 52 weeks per year, this level of income translates into an hourly Housing Wage of $20.68 per hour. A large percentage of renters in Vermont do not earn enough to afford a two-bedroom unit at the average statewide Fair Market Rent. High rents and vacancy rates as low as 1% both continue to be barriers for finding and retaining housing.

Key Notes:

  • Total persons found homeless on one night decreased by 28% from the 2015 count.
  • 124 persons identified as chronically homeless. Chronic homelessness decreased by 25% statewide from the 2015 count.
  • 156 households had children, or 20% of total households counted.
  • 109 persons identified as veterans, 23% lower than last year’s total of 141 persons.
  • The number of unsheltered persons, those living outdoors or taking shelter in a place unfit for human habitation, was 156 persons. This is a slight increase from last year in total from 2015.
  • 230 persons reported as victims of domestic violence; a 10% decrease over 2015. That count does NOT include children impacted – domestic violence is defined as between intimate partners so children are not counted.
  • 371 households identified as being homeless for the first time, or 47% of total households counted.
  • Significant portions of those who are homeless have disabilities. Persons in the count with disabilities may have more than one disabling condition.
    • 316 persons identified as having a serious mental illness, or 29% of the total persons
    • 212 persons identified as having a substance abuse disorder, or 19% of the total persons
    • 177 persons identified as having a physical disability and 50 persons identified as having a developmental disability, or 16% and 5% of the total persons counted respectively.

Every year, the Point-in-Time Count provides a snapshot of how many people are literally homeless on a single night. The findings are used by Vermont’s two Continua of Care in their funding applications to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In addition, the PIT Count provides local communities and state policy makers with an understanding of current challenges and need, areas to target limited funding for appropriate housing and services, and the ability to track overall progress. There are other, more expansive, definitions of homelessness which include those who are doubled up, at risk of losing their housing or otherwise precariously housed, and it’s important to acknowledge that issues of housing security extend beyond those included in the PIT Count.

To view the full 2016 statewide report, visit: http://helpingtohousevt.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/2016VTPITREPORTFULL.pdf

Register Today: Preparing for Your 2016 Housing Inventory Count (HIC) & Point-in-Time (PIT) Count Webinar – December 2, 2015 – 3 PM EST

HUD will host a webinar on preparing for the 2016 Housing Inventory Count (HIC) and Point-in-Time (PIT) Count on Wednesday, December 2, 2015 from 3:00-4:00 PM EST. The webinar will cover the 2016 Notice for Housing Inventory Count (HIC) and Point-in-Time (PIT) Data Collection for Continuum of Care (CoC) Program and Emergency Solutions Grant Program. It will highlight new reporting requirements and data collection guidance for the 2016 HIC and PIT Counts. During the presentation, webinar attendees will have the opportunity to ask questions related to the HIC/PIT Notice.

To register for this webinar please select the following link: Register Now.

This webinar will be recorded and made available for future reference.

If you have questions about entering HIC or PIT data that are not covered in this Notice, please submit them to the HDX Ask A Question (AAQ) portal on the HUD Exchange website. To submit a question to the HDX AAQ portal, select “HDX: Homelessness Data Exchange” from the “My question is related to” drop down list on Step 2 of the question submission process.

A Letter Regarding the 2015 Point-in-Time Count

Friends,

The recent release of the “2015 Vermont Point-in-Time Annual Statewide Count of the Homeless” has elicited conflicting coverage in the media and left some confusion among advocates, policy makers and the general public as to what the numbers mean.

The 2015 Count identifies as fully as possible those Vermonters on one night in January who are:

  • Without shelter at all,
  • In places deemed unfit for human habitation,
  • In emergency shelters,
  • In hotel rooms paid for with private or public funds, or
  • In transitional housing.

The data is amassed in accordance with definitions from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), so that there is assurance that jurisdictions around the nation are identifying the same population of people. Organizations in Vermont have worked carefully together to achieve a credible count. The definitions are consistent over the last several years, so data can be reliably compared over time.

It should be noted that the Point-in-Time Count offers a snapshot of how many people are homeless on a single night, using the HUD definition of homelessness noted above. The Count does not give a full picture of how many individuals and families are homeless over the course of a year. It does not collect information on those precariously housed, doubled up with friends and family, or couch surfing. In particular this means that many families who have no permanent housing but who are committed to protecting their children were not counted. The national estimate is that 75% of vulnerable children are not included in this count because they live in doubled-up situations.[1]

Weather conditions, local volunteer and stakeholder participation should also be taken into account when evaluating the data.

Lastly, in advance of the Point-In-Time count HUD released this statement to communities, which we should all keep in mind: “All of us in the homeless services world have the same goal – to end homelessness. . . Use the PIT Count Report not to fan the flames about the homeless definition – but to help us get to a more mature discussion about affordable housing and how that would help us end homelessness, especially for families.”[2]

We hope this clarifies any misunderstandings around the Point-In-Time Count.  If you would like more information regarding the PIT or if you wish to discuss this further please contact either of the VCEH Co-Chairs.

Sincerely,

Sara Kobylenski, VCEH Co-Chair & Upper Valley Haven, sarak@uppervalleyhaven.org

Kathy Metras, VCEH Co-Chair & Northeast Kingdom Community Action, kmetras@nekcavt.org

[1]   America’s Youngest Outcasts: A Report Card on Child Homelessness, The National Center on Family Homelessness, November 2014, http://www.homelesschildrenamerica.org/home (quoting from Opening doors: Federal strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness, Update 2013, U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness).

[2]   SNAPS In Focus: A Discussion About the Point-In-Time Count December 12, 2014 – See more at: https://www.hudexchange.info/news/snaps-in-focus-a-discussion-about-the-point-in-time-count/