In 2020, more than 2,000 people in Idaho experienced homelessness on any given night, according to the annual Point in Time count. The one-day snapshot of sheltered and unsheltered people took place Jan. 22. It found there were 2,315 people without a place to live across Idaho, the same number counted in 2019.
The Point in Time count is required annually by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The one-night snapshot is just one of the ways to gauge the number of people experiencing homelessness. The results can fluctuate from year to year based on several factors, including count locations, weather, and number of survey volunteers. Point in Time is best used to look at trends of those unsheltered over time. While not an exact science, it helps service providers better understand community homeless needs across the state while raising public awareness of homelessness issues.
“Idaho Housing’s goal is to collectively understand the state’s homeless situation and how we can work together to better serve this population,” said Gerald M. Hunter, Idaho Housing president and executive director. “Understanding the available services and working to develop future resources with our partners is critical to combating homelessness in Idaho.”
The report found that among the 2,315 people counted, 1,272 of them had some sort of sheltered housing. However, 1,043 of those experiencing homelessness were living in unsheltered conditions, such as on the streets, in a car, or a condemned or unsafe building.
Idaho Housing’s work to address homelessness in the state does not stop with the Point in Time count. The annual The State of Homelessness in Idaho report uses data generated by Idaho’s Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS) and Community Management Information System (CMIS), as well as other non-HMIS and non-CMIS participating providers. These multiple data points present a better picture of the number of people experiencing homelessness throughout the year, as well as trends, demographics, and outcomes. The report also highlights the work done by nonprofit and community-based organizations that work to secure housing and critical supportive services for the most disadvantaged among us.
In addition to The State of Homelessness in Idaho, the Home Partnership Foundation’s annual Avenues for Hope fundraising campaign helps build philanthropic networks that nonprofits sometimes struggle to create on their own, enhancing resources for nonprofit service providers with housing-related missions throughout Idaho.
Idaho Housing remains focused on homelessness during the COVID-19 pandemic, allocating more than $15 million in federal grants to nonprofits that provide homelessness services to go with $380,000 in private grants, provided by The Home Partnership Foundation.