EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - Teams are working to tackle Evansville’s annual point-in-time count of homelessness.
Efforts began Wednesday evening in the gymnasium of the CK Newsome Center, which serves as an emergency shelter during freezing weather.
However, the benefits were two-fold.
“It makes this effort a lot easier,” Aurora’s Executive Director Zac Heronemus shared. “However, we still have a long time to go tonight—getting out tonight in the nooks and crannies where our outreach team knows a lot of folks are out on the street.”
Aurora’s outreach team, with support from area homeless shelters, agencies and local partners, began its point-in-time count. It is a mandate by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Seeing these hardships people face firsthand can be heavy. Outreach teams take those obstacles in stride.
“People struggle with a lot things that are unimaginable, but somehow they still do it and they’re still happy,” Aurora’s Natasha Goodge explained. “Sharing that happiness with them, it’s nice.”
Throughout Wednesday night and into the early morning hours Thursday, teams will continue the count by car and on foot where additional homeless people may be living such as abandoned homes, wooded areas and under bridges.
“Everybody has value,” Heronemus added. “And housing is the first step to alleviating a lot of ills in an individual’s life.”
HUD uses this data for planning purposes of future programs to address homelessness.
“I just look for something each day or each week that went forward,” Goodge said. “We have a lot success; we count kind of small things as a success which gives us the encouragement to keep going.”
Timothy Weir with the Commission on Homelessness shared these numbers on previous counts.
Point-in-Time Count Results: 2015-2020
- 2020: 488 individuals, up 2% from 2019, and 31 chronically homeless – down 11% from 2019 and 71% since 2015.
- 2019: 477 individuals, 35 chronically homeless.
- 2018: 427 individuals, 56 chronically homeless.
- 2017: 428 individuals, 56 chronically homeless.
- 2016: 495 individuals, 77 chronically homeless.
- 2015: 462 individuals, 105 chronically homeless.