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2022 Point in Time Count Shows Decrease in County Homelessness

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  • Written By: Erin Wallner
2022 Point in Time Count Shows Decrease in County Homelessness
About This Video

St. Augustine, Fla. May 12, 2022 – Each year a survey is conducted to gauge the amount of homeless individuals within St. Johns County. The Point in Time (PIT) Count is a count of sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness on a single night. The PIT Count is traditionally held in January, but due to challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year it was held on February 28.

The St. Johns County Continuum of Care, led by Flagler Health+, conducts the PIT Count as a requirement of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for those who seek federal funds. The goal is to have an accurate depiction of all those who are utilizing temporary housing including emergency shelters and transitional, plus persons who are living in places not meant for human habitation including cars, parks, and other similar locations.

“It is of the utmost importance to go out into our community each year and administer the Point in Time Count,” said Carlton DeVooght, President and CEO of Flagler Health+. “The information that is gathered is vital to helping our community understand the needs and where our focus should be in helping serve the homeless in St. Johns County.”

This year’s PIT Count was a community effort with volunteer staff from Care Connect+ (a program of Flagler Health+), Alpha-Omega Miracle Home, Department of Health & Human Services, Veterans Administration, St. Francis House, Wildflower Clinic, and the SOS Street Outreach Services team. The teams started at 7 a.m. and canvassed all of St. Johns County with a focus on areas identified by street outreach teams where they commonly interact with people experiencing homelessness. Surveys were conducted interview-style on tablets.

“The Point in Time Count is only one tool for a community to use for prioritization and planning to address a community's homeless challenges,” said Nancy Eisele, Chairman of the Board of St. Johns County Continuum of Care. “One day does not always provide us with the data we need to make important strategic decisions. It is the service providers who do the work day to day that allows us to decipher the current status on those experiencing homelessness. These community agencies continue to provide outreach and other engagement services allowing us to provide direct assistance. Neighboring CoC's also saw swings in their counts this past year which during extraordinary circumstances related to the pandemic will be evaluated to determine gaps in the homeless systems.”

The PIT Count results showed that on Feb. 28 there were 349 individuals experiencing homelessness in St. Johns County. Of those, 242 were experiencing unsheltered homelessness and 107 were residing in shelter. This total was a decrease of 17% from the 419 individuals who were experiencing homelessness on the day of the 2021 count.

Overall the number of homeless decreased year-over-year, but there was a 16% increase in the number of those who were chronically homeless.

While the PIT represents a one-day snapshot, the St. Johns County Continuum of Care works year round in an effort to prevent and end homelessness, bringing together resources and partnerships to make homelessness rare, brief and one time.

In 2021, there were 6,682 people who were served by all programs within the Care Connect+ Information Network, a decrease of 20% from 2020. Of those, 27% of adults reported that they were literally homeless at the time of requesting assistance.

Additionally, it should be noted that homeless school children are counted by the St. Johns County School District using a different homeless definition under the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. To date, in 2022, the St. Johns County School District has identified 780 Homeless Children and Youth in our schools. This total changes daily as new students are identified and is an on-going count until the end of the school year.

To see a copy of the 2022 Point in Time Count, click here.