It’s only the second such count conducted in Indianapolis, so it’s too early to establish trends, but gathering the data allows for researchers and public and private entities to better tailor resources and outreach to address the community’s needs, said Chelsea Haring-Cozzi, the coalition’s executive director.
WFYI’s City Desk reporter Drew Daudelin sat down with Chelsea Haring-Cozzi, executive director of the Coalition For Homelessness Intervention and Prevention, to ask about the ideas and challenges behind the project.
A new count shows the number of homeless youth in Marion county is on the rise.The count was done by the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention on November 7, 2018. They found 183 youth under age 25 who were experiencing homelessness. The number was 96 more than the number of homeless youth discovered during the 2017 count.
“While this comparison between 2017 and 2018 shows a significant increase, I caution people to say it’s an authentic increase,” said Chelsea Haring-Cozzi, the executive director of CHIP. “I really think it’s a better capacity to get data this year. We included data we hadn’t in 2017. It’s not an apples to apples comparison between the two years.”
Trinity Haven is scheduled to open this summer in the Mapleton-Fall Creek neighborhood of Indianapolis. It will serve LGBTQ youth ages 16-21. When it opens, Trinity Haven will be able to house up to 10 youth at a time, with the potential to eventually house at least 15.
“All homelessness is tragic, but homeless LGBTQ youth are in deep and immediate peril,” Leigh Ann Hirschman, Trinity Haven board chair, said in a news release. “Many are terrified to ask for help from programs not tailored to their needs.”
Indianapolis officials on Tuesday announced new funding for a program that helps people who are homeless find and maintain permanent housing.
“I can also tell you that some of the teams that went to the more established camps across the city did find people unsheltered that were hunkered down that night and did not go in,” Haring-Cozzi said. “So, even as frigid as it was, there were individuals found unsheltered that remained so on Wednesday night.”
That was the largest number of deaths recorded by CHIP since it started tracking figures more than a decade ago, and it represented a 20 percent increase from 2017. Illness, injury, homicides and drug overdoses contributed to the number.
There were about 1,700 homeless individuals living in Indianapolis at the beginning of 2018, according to an annual point-in-time count conducted by the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention.