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New Study: Homelessness Rises
Updated May 5, 2013 12:11 AM | Filed under: WBIW News
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(TERRE HAUTE) - The number of people homeless in the Wabash Valley has risen slightly, according to a newly-released Indiana study.

Last week, the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority released the results of its Point in Time Count from January. That count records the number of homeless people living in and out of shelters around the state on one day of the year.

In 2011, that count recorded 157 homeless households in the district including Terre Haute with 205 homeless people in all. This year, the same study recorded 158 homeless households, for a total of 214 people who were homeless.

Bonnie Wallace, Development Director for Lighthouse Mission in Terre Haute, said she has seen more whole families becoming homeless.

"Over the past few years, we've seen that families becoming homeless is increasing, and these statistics just prove out what we see here every day," Wallace said.

With jobs still scarce, Wallace said becoming homeless is easy and can happen to many families.

"Most families today do not have a savings account ... they live paycheck to paycheck," Wallace said. "That means if anything major comes up: a sickness, an illness, they break their leg, they lose their job ... they're behind on their bills, and the next thing you know, they're homeless."

The Point-in-Time study also provided information on homelessness around the state:

* 6 ,259 individuals comprising 4,213 households were homeless during the last week in January 2012. Of the 6,259 individuals found and identified as experiencing homelessness, 889 were unsheltered and found on the street, and 5,370 were staying in emergency shelters, safe havens or in temporary transitional housing programs.

* 23% of households counted, or 955 households were with dependent children.

* 1,194 of the adults counted were women fleeing from domestic violence.

* 652 of the adults counted were veterans, a decrease of 6% from 2011.

* 16% of the adults counted suffered from a chronic addiction.

* 7% of the adults counted identified themselves as having a severe mental illness.

* 7% of individuals counted can be characterized as "chronically homeless."

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