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Number of homeless down in Victoria

By Sonny Long
Feb. 14, 2011 at 5 p.m.
Updated Feb. 13, 2011 at 8:14 p.m.

Ginny Stafford

VICTORIA HOMELESS2009/2010/2011

89/130/69 Emergency Shelter

23/23/15 Transitional Housing

22/44/39 Street

134/197/123 Total Actual Homeless

SOURCE: Victoria Area Homeless Coalition

ON THE STREETOf the street homeless in Victoria who completed a survey:

64% were chronically homeless (homeless for one year or more or several episodes of homelessness during the last three to four years)

46% reported substance abuse

41% reported a disability

33% reported a mental illness

13% were veterans

SOURCE: Victoria Area Homeless Coalition

The good news is that the numbers of homeless in Victoria appears to have decreased slightly; the bad news is that more than 120 people are without permanent shelters they can call home.

The figures from the 2011 Homeless Count have been released and while promising with a decrease in the numbers of actual homeless counted, the problem persists.

"It's too early to get excited," cautioned Ginny Stafford, executive director of Mid-Coast Family Services, a member of the Homeless Coalition. "Only time will tell if the dip is real. We are also very concerned about the at-risk homeless. Many of those folks were one day away from being on the street. If you include those numbers, our total actually increased over the 2010 count."

Volunteers from the organizations that make up the Victoria Area Homeless Coalition conducted the count on Jan. 27.

During the count, 39 people in Victoria were determined to be living on the street. In Calhoun County, 49 were identified as street homeless.

That number in Victoria is down slightly from the 44 counted last year.

Other numbers in Victoria also show a decrease.

Sixty-nine people were located living in emergency shelters in 2011, compared to 130 in 2010, and 15 in transitional housing compared to 23 last year.

Calhoun County reported 29 people in emergency shelters and none in transitional housing.

The total number of people deemed actually homeless was 123 in Victoria and 78 in Calhoun County.

Another category the count looks at are those people at-risk of becoming homeless. These are people who will be evicted from rental property or asked to leave current housing within two weeks.

In Victoria 94 people were found to be in this situation at the time of the count.

Jim Walvaert, who oversees the homeless programs at Mid-Coast Family Services, said the number of people at risk of becoming homeless is high.

"For the past year (Feb. 1, 2010 to Feb. 1, 2011) we assisted 445 persons in 173 households," he said.

Stafford said those people are in imminent danger of becoming homeless.

"We assisted those people, in part, with stimulus funds," she said. "Those funds will not be available after August."

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