The Blue Ridge Interagency Council on Homelessness conducted this year’s Point-in-Time (PIT) count for the Roanoke region (Alleghany County, Botetourt County, Craig County, Roanoke County, the City of Covington, the City of Roanoke and the City of Salem) on the night of Jan. 23, with all individuals experiencing homelessness in the region on this night being counted and voluntarily surveyed. This year’s total count was 319, an increase of 0.6% over last year (317), but is 3.4% less than the 331 counted in July 2018. Homelessness has decreased by 43.1% since 2012.
Progress continues to be made in reducing family and youth homelessness. The number of homeless families decreased 7.1% this year over last; the number of homeless children under age 18 decreased 19%; and the number of parenting youth (age 18-24) decreased by 50%.
The Blue Ridge Interagency Council on Homelessness, the governing body for homeless services in the region, is the lead entity that conducts the PIT count. PIT counts of sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness occur annually in localities across the country. This count takes place on a single night in late January each year. The data collected provides valuable information to area service providers, policy makers, and the general public on the individual and family challenges and barriers associated with homelessness.
The community has many successes to celebrate this year. The Roanoke region now has 100% coverage for all of its emergency shelters, day shelters, and housing programs in its data system. The Roanoke Rescue Mission, the Salem VA Medical Center, and Roanoke Area Ministries are all now participants in the shared electronic database.
Because of this, data collection and analysis efforts continue to get more sophisticated, with improvements such as the ability to monitor system performance regularly. Additional data-driven planning processes will be added, including system modeling. New Federal funding to support the Homeless Management Information System was received this year as a result of this innovative work.
Collaboration in the community continues to be one of the biggest strengths. The coordinated entry system is well-functioning and innovative work around data collection and analysis will continue to guide system refinement efforts. We have work to do, but the foundation of our system is strong.
A copy of the full 2019 PIT report can be found on the Blue Ridge Continuum of Care’s website at www.endhomelessnessblueridge.org/resources/documents-and-publications.
For more information, please contact Paula Prince, Chair, Blue Ridge Interagency Council on Homelessness, at [email protected] or (540) 985-8380.