The annual Point-In-Time (PIT) Homeless Count is a national effort undertaken once a year by professionals and volunteers to count those who are currently homeless in communities across the United States. The results provide a snapshot of persons encountered during the one-day count and are used to identify resources needed to address this important issue, make local funding decisions, study trends and increase awareness about those who don’t have shelter. The Impact ICT – Continuum of Care (CoC) conducts this survey in Wichita and Sedgwick County for one 24-hour period. It is coordinated by United Way of the Plains. The results are reported to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and published on their website. Shelter capacity numbers are not consistently collected or reported as part of the HUD PIT. Historical PIT results for Wichita-Sedgwick County are also posted on the area of the United Way of the Plains website devoted to this initiative.
When was this year’s count and what was different about it?
The nationwide PIT count is typically conducted during the last ten days of January. This year the count for Wichita-Sedgwick County was moved to Thursday, February 24, due to a COVID-19 spike in January.
Key facts in this year’s count
- In Wichita-Sedgwick County, 690 persons were identified as homeless (those living in emergency shelter, transitional housing, safe haven, or places not meant for human habitation such as in cars or on the streets).
- The number of homeless persons increased by 11.5 percent (N=71) when compared with 2020.
Note that an unsheltered count was not conducted in 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions, so 2020 is the most recent year a full count was completed. Sheltered counts that year were impacted by the need to provide adequate social distancing, which reduced capacity.
- Of the 690 individuals identified as homeless, 124 or 18% were unsheltered, even though shelter beds were not at capacity during the time the count was conducted.
- 35 more gathering places/locations were visited and included than in past years.
- 844 previously homeless individuals were in housing on the night of the count through CoC-funded projects, the City of Wichita’s Homeless Preference Housing Choice Vouchers and the joint County-City housing project, Housing First.
What factors can influence the annual count?
- Fluctuating economic conditions
- Concerns unsheltered persons have about exposure to COVID-19 in enclosed areas
- Local and national increases in housing costs
- Improvements in count methodology, such as outreach to more locations
Who conducted the count?
The 2022 PIT Homeless Count was made possible by local housing and homeless providers, including the City of Wichita, Sedgwick County and other nonprofit agency volunteers. Community volunteers also participated, including students from Wichita State University. A total of 53 volunteers assisted with the survey interviews, data quality and logistics.
What is the IMPACT ICT CoC coalition?
Impact ICT – Continuum of Care (CoC) is a coalition of 238 people representing nonprofits; the faith community; federal, state, and local governments; businesses; and other community advocates. As part of their efforts to make homelessness rare, brief and nonrecurring, the coalition coordinates grant funding from HUD. Through a $2.8 million HUD grant, 14 homeless service programs are funded in Sedgwick County for 2022 – 2023. They include:
- Breakthrough Episcopal Social Services: Rapid Re-Housing Program
- Catholic Charities: Rapid Re-Housing Program
- HumanKind Ministries: Villa Central, Villa Courts and Villa North
- Mental Health Association of South Central Kansas: Dual Diagnosis Permanent Supportive Housing and Permanent Supportive Housing Consolidated
- Sedgwick County COMCARE: Shelter Plus Care Consolidated
- The Salvation Army: TH – RHH Program
- United Way of the Plains: Coordinated Entry – Domestic Violence Database, CoC Planning Project, Coordinated Entry – Homeless Management Information System and Coordinated Entry – SSO
- United Methodist Open Door: Family Rapid Re-Housing
2021 facts shared by IMPACT ICT – CoC:
- 2,752 individuals were served by Impact ICT – CoC members through emergency shelter, transitional housing, street outreach and housing services
- 1,128 individuals were housed or kept in housing
- The average days of homelessness per person was down to 70 days (down a full week since 2020)
Where can I learn more?
Check the United Way of the Plains website for an infographic and a detailed data sheet for the 2022 PIT count.