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Chittenden County's 2019 Point-In-Time Count Shows Rise In Chronic Homelessness

A homeless encampment on Sears Lane in Burlington, shortly before it was taken down by the city in October 2017 after reports of domestic violence and drug use.
Liam Connors
/
VPR
A homeless encampment on Sears Lane in Burlington, shortly before it was taken down by the city in October 2017 after reports of domestic violence and drug use.

An estimated 1,089 people experienced homelessness in Vermont, nearly a third of them in Chittenden County, during a one-day count in January. 

That's a nearly 16% decrease in the estimate of people experiencing homelessness over last year. But the estimate also found a troubling reversal in what had been a yearslong decline in chronic homelessness.

On Jan. 23, 2019, people fanned out across Vermont in an effort to get a sense of how many people are experiencing homelessness.

The "point-in-time count" offers only a rough snapshot of homelessness in the state — it can't capture those who are in transitional housing, and it doesn't count people temporarily staying with family or friends — but it does give a glimpse of what services are available, what programs might be working and where the state and counties could better concentrate their resources.

Margaret Bozik, co-chair of the Chittenden County Homeless Alliance, tells Vermont Edition about the count results in Chittenden County, larger statewide trends, some success combating homelessness among veterans and families and explanations behind the 24% uptick in chronic homelessness.

Broadcast live on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 at noon; rebroadcast at 7 p.m.

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