Latest count finds drop in county homeless population

Jan. 27, 2016, Mecklenburg volunteers seek homeless people. Photo: Peter Safir

The most recent count of homelessness in Mecklenburg County—undertaken on one night in January— found overall homelessness had decreased by 36 percent since 2010. The same count also found a 9 percent decrease since last year, even as the county’s total population grew.

Click on image to download the full report.

The findings are outlined in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Point-in-Time Count report, 2009-2016. The report is the first of a series scheduled for 2016 examining housing instability and homelessness in Mecklenburg County.  This report looks specifically at findings in the Point-in-Time (PIT) Count, an unduplicated one-night estimate of the homeless population. The PIT Count includes people in emergency shelters, transitional housing, or safe havens, as well as those found without shelter in places such as camps, abandoned buildings and on the streets. The PIT Count is federally mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for all communities that receive a certain type of federal funding, McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Grants.

On the night of Jan. 27, 2016, more than 150 volunteers fanned out across the county to find and interview people living without shelter. They found 187 people unsheltered. Another 1,631 were in some form of shelter. In total, 1,818 people were recorded as homeless, a 36 percent decrease from the PIT Count in 2010, and a 9 percent decrease from 2015. Of those 1,818, the largest number, 1,149 or 63 percent, were in emergency shelters; 187 (10 percent) were unsheltered, and 482 (27 percent) were in some form of transitional housing.

From 2015 to 2016 decreases were found in:

  • Chronic homelessness – a 39 percent decrease, to 170 people.
  • Veterans experiencing homelessness – a 19 percent decrease, to 149 people.
  • Adults with children (family homelessness) – a decrease of 14 percent, to 650 people
  • Unaccompanied youth – a decrease of 8 percent, to 78 people.

A small increase from 2015 to 2016 was found in unsheltered homelessness (up 4 percent, or 7 people).

Of the 1,818 people counted in the 2016 PIT count:

  • 78 percent were black, in a county where 32 percent of the total population is black.
  • 44 percent were female.
  • 23 percent were children.
  • 3 percent were Hispanic/Latino, in a county where 13 percent of the total population is Hispanic/Latino.

The report was prepared by Ashley Williams Clark and Justin T. Lane of the UNC Charlotte Urban Institute for the Housing Advisory Board of Charlotte-Mecklenburg, a community-based board appointed to put into action the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Ten Year Plan to End and Prevent Homelessness. Funding for the report was provided by Mecklenburg County Community Support Services.

Source: UNC Charlotte Urban Institute, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Point-in-Time Count 2009-2016