DWS News Advisory
May 12, 2014

Overall Homelessness Significantly Drops in Utah
More Accurate Chronic Homeless Count Established

SALT LAKE CITY- Utah’s Housing and Community Development Division has released the statewide findings from the 2014 Point-in-Time Homeless Count. Conducted every January, the count is a snapshot of homelessness in the state on a particular night.

The survey reflects an increase of 8.8 percent in chronic homelessness due to more accurate measuring of the population, and a decrease of 10 percent in overall homelessness since last year. In Salt Lake County, approximately 150 new individuals were identified as chronically homeless while the rest of the state has seen a 50 percent reduction from last year. Since 2005, chronic homelessness in Utah has decreased 72 percent.

"Real collaboration between government, non-profit and private agencies is making a difference. We are more accurately identifying those who need our services and moving them into supportive housing," said Lt. Governor Spencer J. Cox, Chairman of the State Homeless Coordinating Committee. "We have been actively working to end chronic homelessness here in Utah for the past nine years. As we near that goal, we are finding and working with the more difficult cases: individuals who may not want our help. At the same time we are rapidly re-housing those who experience homelessness for the first time."

A significant resource for success in reducing Utah’s overall homelessness is the Department of Workforce Services use of TANF funding. This support has reduced family stays in the shelter system from 60 days to 33 days.

The Point in Time count is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as part of an effort to collect data on the homeless and their use of services. HUD defines homeless as persons who are sleeping in places not meant for human habitation, sleeping in emergency shelters or living in transitional housing but were previously living on the streets.

The point-in-time count is a method to count the number of homeless persons at a particular place, within a specific time period, on a given day. In Utah, 64 homeless service providers and more than 200 volunteers entered computerized assessments and combed streets, riverbanks and neighborhoods to identify and accurately count the state's homeless population.

Utah's Homeless Task Force and Ten-Year Homeless Action Plan are managed by the Housing and Community Development Division under the Utah Department of Workforce Services.