Blog post by Liz Clasen-Kelly with Trish Fries
Each year since 2010, Urban Ministry Center has taken one day (usually in September or October) to collect information on the neighbors visiting our main campus at 945 N College St. This year we conducted the survey on a cool Monday morning in October. Here are a few observations.
Overall decrease: 432 individuals came onto our property this year for Survey at the Gate – a 7% decrease from last year (468) and a 28% decrease from our first survey in 2010 (597). While not a perfect data point, this data supports other data that indicates homelessness in our community is decreasing.
Progress on Ending Veterans Homelessness: We saw a 22% decrease of veterans on our property this year, compared to last year. Furthermore, only about half of the veterans we did see during survey at the gate were experiencing homelessness. These numbers are indicative of the progress our community is making towards ending veterans homelessness.
Chronic Homelessness: Interestingly, we did not see significant changes in the number of people on our property who indicated they have been homeless for 1 year or longer. In 2014, we had 114 people and this year we had 105 – only an 8% decrease. There are other community data points which indicate we are indeed making progress on ending chronic homelessness, but we have more work to do on ending chronic homelessness.
Street Homelessness: The most startling change in our data is the increase in the proportion of people who reported sleeping on the street or places unfit for human habitation. In 2010, 46% of those we serve reported staying in the shelter and 17% reported staying on the street or place unfit for human habitation. In 5 years, those percentages nearly flip-flopped. This year only 18% of those we serve reported staying in the shelter and 42% reported staying on the street or place unfit for human habitation. There is more work to do in unpacking this data point, but the overcrowding at the women’s shelter and the changes in the Men’s Shelter intake process are likely precipitating factors in this increase in street homelessness the survey at the gate data has shown over the last five years.
Open the full 2015 Survey at the Gate Results & Comparison to see the demographic breakdown of who we serve, the reasons they come to UMC, how often they come, where else they go for services, and much more.