Chronic Homelessness Down 82%
Updated: Monday, March 18 2013, 01:47 PM EDT
The Asheville Buncombe Homeless Initiative recently conducted its annual Point-in-Time Count of homeless families and individuals in Asheville and Buncombe County. This year’s count showed 54 people still experiencing chronic homelessness, down 82% from the 293 identified in the 2005 Ten-Year Plan to End Homelessness.
Individuals with disabling conditions who are homeless for more than a year or experience four episodes of homelessness in three years are considered chronically homeless.
Asheville City Council and the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners adopted the 10 Year Plan to End Homelessness in 2005. Since then, a collaboration of service providers, including Homeward Bound, the Asheville Housing Authority, Western Highlands Network, Mission Hospital, the City of Asheville and Buncombe County have focused on chronic homelessness in the community. A related collaboration between the VA Medical Center and the Housing Authority has contributed to this important success, housing more than 200 homeless veterans with supportive services in the private rental market.
The Point in Time Count also indicates that family and youth homelessness, although generally shorter in duration, continues to be a challenge. Overall, the total number of individuals and families who are experiencing homelessness at the time of the count each year has remained relatively flat for the last 4 years, at approximately 530 people.
In the coming months, the Homeless Initiative will be focusing on strengthening its plan to address all forms of homelessness. This plan will include rapid re-housing strategies to ensure a quick transition back into safe, stable and sustainable housing for families who have become homeless, as well as prevention strategies to ensure housing stability for those imminently at risk of homelessness.
“The Asheville-Buncombe community took on the challenge of ending chronic homelessness by 2015 when the 10 Year Plan was adopted,” said Homeless Initiative coordinator Heather Dillashaw. “Because of strong, collaborative partnerships and creative solutions, we are on track to achieve that goal.”