NW Arkansas Point-in-Time Homeless Census Final Report

On Monday, the Community and Family Institute is located in the University of Arkansasʼ Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice released the final Northwest Arkansas Point-in-Time Homeless Census Report. We would ask everyone in Northwest Arkansas take the time to read the final & full report as this may be one of our greatest tools in serving those who are homeless in Northwest Arkansas.

You can download the report by following this link

Northwest Arkansas Point-in-Time Homeless Census 2011 Report

Summary of 2011 Point-in-Time Census

  • Numbers. It is estimated that on any given night approximately 2,001 adults and youth in Benton and Washington Counties are homeless.
  • Basic demographics 437 adults were interviewed for the 2011 Point-in-Time Census. The median age of respondents was 40 years. About two-thirds of the sample, (63%) was between the ages of 25 and 54. Men comprised 58 percent of the survey respondents. Eighty-one percent of respondents were Caucasian/White, 7 percent were African-American/Black, with the remaining 12 percent comprised of other racial and ethnic categories; 7.8 percent of respondents were Hispanic.
  • Housing status. While approximately 1 percent of respondents were actually interviewed on the street, interviews conducted in local soup kitchens, day centers and food banks revealed that 8 percent of homeless adults spent the previous night on the streets. The most common living situations included doubling up/staying with a friend or relative (26%),treatment facilities (20%), and transitional housing (17%).
  • Family structure. Sixty-three percent of homeless persons were single adults. Of those in families, 7 percent were couples without children, 11 percent were couples with children, 16 percent were one parent families with children, and 2.5 percent were in some other family arrangement.
  • Time spent homeless. The median time spent homeless was 5 months. Seventy-three percent reported that this was their first time being homeless in the last three years. More than one-quarter of those interviewed reported a second or third homeless episode in the last three years.
  • Services used and service gaps. The most frequently received services were food assistance (72%), medication assistance (32%), substance abuse treatment (32%), clothing assistance (46%), case management (43%), and transportation assistance (27%).
  • Regarding service gaps, the services most commonly needed, but not currently being received were: job training and assistance (24%), housing placement assistance (26%), transportation assistance (31%), and medication assistance (26%).
  • Chronic homelessness. Twenty-seven percent of respondents were chronically homeless. Of the number of respondents who said they suffered from at least one chronic condition, 44 percent classified themselves as chronic substance abusers, 28 percent reported having a mental illness, 27 percent reported a physical disability, 14 percent were domestic violence victims, and 9 percent had a developmental disability. Of the total number of homeless persons interviewed, more than 20 percent reported two or more of these conditions.
  • Military service. Twenty-five percent of homeless adults reported prior service in the military; nearly 30 percent of those veterans saw active combat. The majority of these homeless veterans were older, single males.
  • Prevalence. Overall, the number of homeless persons in Benton and Washington Counties increased 36 percent between 2009 and 201, from 1,287 to 2,001. The number of homeless youth increased by more than 39 percent.
  • Age. The median age of homeless adults was similar 41 (2009) and 40 (2011), with notable jumps in the numbers of persons age 55 and older.
  • Race/Ethnicity. The racial composition was very similar to that recorded in 2009 though the diversity was less than in 2009. The number of Hispanic adults dropped slightly between 2009-2011.
  • Housing status. The percentage of people making use of emergency shelter continued to decline from 37 percent in 2007 to 20 percent in 2009 and 14 percent in 2011. At the same time, there was a substantial increase in those reporting doubling up from 18 percent in 2009 to 26 percent in 2011.
  • Family structure. In the 2-year period from 2009 to 2011, there was an increase in the percentage of homeless adults who reported being single without children, from 57 percent to 64 percent.
  • Frequency and duration of homeless episodes. There was a 48 percent decline in the average number of homeless episodes in the previous 3-year period among adults, from 2.5 in 2007 to 1.3 in 2009. That number changed only slightly in 2011 (1.4). However, the median length of homelessness remained the same as in 2009--5 months.
  • Service gap. Significant gains were made in narrowing the service delivery gap in a number of areas. The percentage of respondents who reported using case management services in 2009 nearly doubled to those using it in 2011. Likewise, those receiving medical treatment in 2009 (17%) doubled in 2011 (35%). The service delivery gap continued to be significant in 2011 as it was in 2009 for job training, medication, and transportation assistance.
  • Chronic homelessness. The rate of chronic homelessness among adults declined from 32 percent in 2009 to 27 percent in 2011.
  • Chronic conditions. There were only minor changes in chronic conditions reported between persons reporting such condition in 2009 compared to 2011. Over 40% continued reporting substance abuse problems, and more than one-quarter reported problems with a physical or mental disability.
  • Homeless veterans. The percentage of adult homeless who reported prior military services jumped increased slightly from 24 to 25 percent between 2009 and 2011.

For more information on the University of Arkansas Community and Family Institute, please visit their website at http://sociology.uark.edu/3550.php

For more information on how you can help serve the homeless people in Northwest Arkansas, you can serve with Seven Hills Homeless Center, Samaritan Community Center, Lifesource, NW Arkansas Women's Shelter or at Laundry Love Project's throughout NW Arkansas.