WALLA WALLA -- The latest Homeless Point in Time survey delivered a classic "good news, bad news" message.
The good news? The number of homeless individuals hasn't increased since last year. The bad news? The number hasn't dropped either.
The results were delivered to Walla Walla County Commissioners Monday by Susan Kralman, coordinator for Walla Walla County's 10-year plan for ending homelessness.
This year's survey was taken on Jan. 27 at locations throughout Walla Walla County, Kralman said. According to the National Weather Service, weather conditions were dry with a high of 40 degrees and a low of 33 degrees.
This year's count showed 521 homeless individuals, exactly the same number as last year. Homeless households showed a slight decrease from last year, going from 294 to 281.
One large decrease was the number of children newborn to 17 years of age, which this year totaled 181 individuals, down from 249 in 2010. The largest group of homeless adults remained in the age range of 26-35, with 100 counted this year as opposed to 71 last year.
Under the heading of "where did you stay last night?" one category that jumped in numbers were people listed as living out of doors, Kralman said. This was due to the inclusion of people found to be living in trailers without running water, electricity or otherwise "not fit for habitation." This year those numbers totaled 50 individuals and 17 households as opposed to 2010 when the totals were three individuals and three households.
While changes in some questions made comparisons between this year and previous years not possible, Kralman said, as in past years, alcohol and substance abuse were the No. 1 answers for "situations leading to homelessness" among households. Substance abuse also remained at the top of disabilities listed by respondents to the survey.
Andy Porter can be reached at email@example.com or 526-8318.
By the numbers
Survey taken Jan. 27 at locations throughout Walla Walla County. High temperature was 40 degrees, low that night was 33 degrees.
Individuals homeless 521 (same as 2010 total)
Households homeless 281 (down from 294 last year)
All males 280
All females 238
Single males 138
Single females 40
0-5 years old 56
6-12 years old 80
13-17 years old 45
18-20 years old 23
21-25 years old 27
26-35 years old 100
36-45 years old 73
46-55 years old 84
56-64 years old 21
65+ years old 12
Chronic substance abuse 99
Mental health 78
Chronic health condition 20
Where did you stay last night? (Individuals)
Temporarily with family or friends** 199
Transitional housing* 163
Emergency shelter 81
Out of doors 50
Abandoned building 2
Where did you stay last night? (Households)
Transitional housing* 98
Temporarily with family or friends** 94
Emergency shelter 48
Out of doors 17
Abandoned bldg 2
1 year or more 17
At least 4 episodes in past 3 years 10
Family member victim of domestic violence 55
Top 10 situations that caused homelessness (Households)
Alcohol/substance abuse 115
Unable to pay rent/mortgage 103
Job loss 83
Family crisis/break-up 80
Mental illness 45
Temporary living situation ended 44
Domestic violence 42
Conviction (midemeanor/felony) 32
Illness-health problems 30
Top six sources of income and benefits (Households)
Public assistance 100
Social Security 50
Part-time work 34
Veterans Administration benefits 18
Full-time low-wage job 17
*Effective 2011, Washington state and the federal Housing and Urban Development no longer consider individuals or households in the Transitional Housing Operating Rent or Tenant-based Rental Assistance programs homeless. However, for continuity and comparison purposes they were kept in the 2011 Homeless Point In Time report and account for 62 individuals and 31 households.
**Included in the 2011 count, but not considered homeless per state and federal definition.