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Homelessness Declines 7% In Mississippi In 2014

By Evelina Burnett | Published 19 May 2014 08:56am | comments

The number of Mississippians who are homeless has declined slightly, about 7 percent, this year. MPB’s Evelina Burnett spoke with all three organizations that carry out the annual Point in Time homelessness survey throughout the state. Here’s her report.

The Gulf Coast saw a 28 percent reduction in homelessness during this year's survey, which is held in January. In 2014, the Open Doors Homeless Coalition says there were 426 homeless individuals in the six coastal counties. Last year during the Point in Time survey, there were 591 homeless individuals. 

Open Doors director Mary Simons says this is, in part, because there's additional funding now to help people who are at risk of becoming homeless - maybe one car repair away from not being able to pay the rent.

The Partnership to End Homelessness conducts the survey in the five counties surrounding Jackson. Homelessness increased 11 percent this year in that area, to 846 persons from 760 last year.

But partnership director Shelley Johnson explains, the methodology for the count was changed this year. They used county-based teams and reached out to local service agencies and others working on the ground. For example, chronic homelessness in the Jackson area declined more than 35 percent this year.

In the 71 counties outside of Jackson and the Gulf coast, homelessness fell 9 percent, from 1,052 homeless persons last year to 954 this year.

All together, the results show 2,226 Mississippians were homeless this year during the survey.

 

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