Homelessness on the rise in Hamilton County

Updated: Jan. 5, 2021 at 8:27 AM EST
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CINCINNATI (FOX19) - Kevin Finn, president and CEO of Strategies to End Homelessness and partner agencies are projecting very bad years in 2021 and 2022 in terms of the number of people homeless.

“It typically takes a year to two years from when the economy goes in the tank for homelessness to go up,” Finn said.

Here’s a breakdown of homelessness numbers from January through November 2020 compared to the same stretch in 2019 in Hamilton County:

  • 982: The number of people unsheltered on the streets (28% increase)
  • 4,714: The number of people in emergency shelters (16% decrease)
  • 5,252: Overall homelessness in Hamilton County (12.5% decrease)

Finn says homelessness is a lagging indicator and that it takes 12 to 24 months ‘when the economy goes in the tank’ before you can see increases in the number of people on streets or in shelters.

Finn notes that very few people go right from being evicted to being on the street or in a shelter.

“Almost everyone (in that case) goes through a period of time where they are what we refer to as doubled up with someone before they end up on the street or in a shelter. So that 12.5 percent overall decline is really just, more of, that the increase hasn’t come yet,” he said.

As for area shelters, Finn says they’re back operating basically at their full capacity.

“The decrease in the number of people in a shelter is largely due to social distancing requirements. The shelters can’t just wedge people in to get them in out of the heat or the cold the way they normally would because they have to have social distancing,” he said.

Finn expects to release more homelessness numbers to FOX19 NOW for the month of 2020 through the Homeless Management Information System in Hamilton County at some point this week.

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