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Media Contact:  Janet Bartos, Executive Director, Lee County Homeless Coalition (239) 322-6600

The Lee County Homeless Coalition is an advocacy group made up of community and faith-based service providers, local businesses, people who are currently experiencing or who have experienced homelessness, and other advocates committed to ending homelessness. Once per year the Coalition, with the help of many volunteers, conducts a Point in Time (PIT) census to count the homeless and provide data to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The PIT count is also used to gather information that allows local service providers to target services to meet the specific needs of the homeless in our communities.[box color=”green” align=”left”]2015 Lee County Homeless Census Comparison Report[/box]

The PIT count, which asked people where they slept the night of January 30, 2015, included both sheltered and unsheltered homeless individuals and families. The PIT count was able to document 638 homeless persons, of which 178 were considered to be chronically homeless. HUD defines chronic homelessness as “an unaccompanied adult homeless individual with a disabling condition who has either continuously been homeless for a year or more or has had at least four episodes of homelessness in the past three years.” Among the 638 persons surveyed, 56 percent reported having a disabling condition. Also among the 638 were 40 families with 55 children. Veterans made up for 10 percent of those surveyed. Data obtained through the Lee County Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) and PIT count found that during the course of the year, there are an estimated 2,816 homeless individuals within Lee County.

Housing and service programs for the homeless are provided in part through Continuum of Care funds from HUD. On January 26, 2015, The 2014 Continuum of Care funding announcements were made. Lee County submitted funding requests to sustain 11 programs in the County, which are operated by the Lee County Department of Human Services, SalusCare, CASL/Renaissance Manor, and The Salvation Army.  The total awarded amount was $2,061,821.

The Lee County Homeless Coalition would like to extend a special thank you to the volunteers that assisted with this year’s PIT count.