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Homelessness Declines In Charlotte-Mecklenburg

Matthew Woitunski CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)

The number of homeless people in Charlotte appears to be on the decline. Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s annual count of homeless people this year shows 9 percent fewer people are living in shelters and on the streets than last year.

Every year, local agencies fan out for one night to take a count of people living in homeless shelters and on the streets. The count, which took place in January this year, put the number at just over 1,800. That’s compared to last year’s number of 2,000 homeless people. In 2010, the count amounted to more than 2,800. Stacy Lowry, the county’s Community Support Services director credits the reduced numbers to the Housing First initiative. Through it agencies place people in housing as quickly as they can, even if they have problems such as mental illness, addictions or unemployment.

“You can place in housing and use as platform for stability and that will help them in other areas where they may have barriers in their life,” Lowry said. “We have a 90 percent housing retention rate. It gives them a stable place to work on other issues in their life.”

Lowry says they also saw significant reductions in the number of people who are chronically homeless. That dropped by 39 percent. The number of homeless families decreased by 14 percent and homeless veterans dropped by 19 percent.