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Estimating Homeless and Chronic Homeless Prevalence by Continuums of Care

Michael Ullman, MA, School of Social Work, University of Hawaii-Manoa, 3329 Hinano Street, Honolulu, HI 96815, 808-391-7963, mullman@usvetsinc.org

This paper analyzes variation in total homeless and chronic homeless prevalence rates estimated by Continuums of Care and correlates these rates with key macro socio-demographic and individual demographic characteristics. The study uses data from the 2003 McKinney-Vento funding application from a sample of 36 Continuums throughout the U.S. and its territories. This study discusses the HUD initiative to develop chronic homeless estimates at the Continuum level and presents the largest comparison of regional homeless prevalence and the only comparison to date of regional differences in chronic homeless prevalence. Results show extreme variation reported in both total and chronic homeless prevalence among the Continuums. Point-in-time homeless prevalence ranged from 56 to 1266 per 100,000, while chronic prevalence ranged from 6 to 609 per 100,000 population. Continuums also reported wide variation in the percentage of homeless reported to be chronic homeless with a range between 3.0% to 66.5% of the point-in-time homeless population. Chronic homeless was found to be positively and significantly correlated to both the Continuum’s poverty rate and homeownership rate. The percentage of homeless reported to be chronic by the Continuums was negatively correlated to the percentage of homeless classified as family individuals. This study also describes the various methods and strategies employed by Continuums to produce homeless counts which include the use of administrative data, physical enumeration, sample surveys and estimation by key informant service providers. Evidence is provided that many of these counts are quite methodologically sound and the estimates produced are comparable to previous national estimates.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Homeless, Policy/Policy Development

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Myths, Models and Prevalance Data on Homeless Populations

The 132nd Annual Meeting (November 6-10, 2004) of APHA