Last month's count of homeless people in Harford County found 166 people living in some kind of shelter and at least eight people living on the street, the Harford County Department of Community Services said Wednesday, a significant reduction from the three previous annual counts.
Results from the point-in-time count on Jan. 24 found 98 adults and 68 children sheltered and receiving comprehensive support services, the county said in a media release. Single adults found during a street outreach totaled eight. Officials estimate a 3 percent margin of error because of the transient nature of homelessness.
A similar count in late January 2012 found 204 homeless people living in local shelters and a dozen living on the street – people known not to take advantage of public or private shelters or transitional housing. There were 243 sheltered homeless counted in 2011 and 13 on the street, 221 in shelters in 2010, according to previous news reports.
According to the county community services, during last month's count donated hats, gloves, coats, blankets, personal care items, food, and bus vouchers were distributed to the homeless and the remaining donations were shared with community shelter providers, Anna's House, Alliance Inc. and Homecoming Project Inc.
The Harford County Department of Community Services along with many volunteers conducted the count, along with officer escorts from the Harford County Sheriff's Office, Havre de Grace Police Department, Aberdeen Police Department and Bel Air Police Department.
The annual count allows Harford County to secure the federal, state and local funding necessary to serve the most vulnerable population and may assist in gaining expansion grants, according to the county media release. The data collected also allows the community to strategically plan for the future needs of citizens.
According to community services, Harford County has 13 emergency, transitional and permanent supportive shelters, offering a total of 304 beds for homeless adults, children and families.
In fiscal year 2012, Harford County provided 997 people with 63,261 emergency shelter or transitional housing bed nights, for an average stay of 37 nights per person, the county media release states. In 2012, the Harford County Department of Community Services provided more than a $1 million in homeless program funding, which assisted such organizations as Alliance Inc., Faith Communities and Civic Agencies United Inc. (FCCAU), Associated Catholic Charities Inc./Anna's House, the Sexual Assault/Spouse Abuse Resource Center (SARC), Homecoming Project Inc. and Harford Family House Inc.