The Homelessness and Housing Alliance has released the 2022 Housing Needs Assessment and Analysis. The report analyzes data from the 2022 Point in Time Count, 2022 Housing Inventory Count, and the Homelessness Management Information System’s 2021 Performance Measures in order to assess the state of homelessness in Okaloosa and Walton County.
The Point in Time Count found that the number of people experiencing homlessness in Okaloosa and Walton County increased by 14% since 2020. This increase held true for those experiencing homlessness as individuals and as part of a family unit. System performance measures also showed a significant increase in newly homeless individuals.
The majority of those experiencing homelessness in our community are unsheltered individuals. While men make up the majority of the homeless population, women make up a disproportionate number of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness as a family or as unaccompanied youth. People of all racial and ethnic groups are experiencing homlessness, with white people making up the majority of the homeless population. However, a disproportionate percentage of African Americans are experiencing homelessess relative to their community numbers.
System performance data shows that the Continuum of Care has been effective at:
- Decreasing the length of time people experience homelessness
- Reducing returns to homelessness for those exiting shelter and rapid rehousing programs and
- Increasing the number of unsheltered clients that outreach programs move to housing, shelter, or other positive destinations.
At the same time, it also reveals a number of gaps that need to be addressed:
- There are capacity limitations in all three bed categories.
- Outreach programs need to be strengthened to reach people faster and ensure stabilization once clients move into permanent housing.
- Emergency Shelter and Rapid Rehousing programs need to focus on increasing the number of clients moving into permanent housing.
- PSH programs need to focus on stabilization to prevent returns to homelessness.
In addition, there are a significant gaps in the data. These can be addressed by expanding the PIT and HIC surveys to non-grant recipients, encouraging all providers to utilize HMIS, and training case managers in tracking income increases so that the COC can better evaluate that component of effectiveness.