Homelessness Down 14% in Polk County

An update from the Polk County Continuum of Care Board

Homelessness Down 14% in Polk County

The Continuum of Care Grant is a US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Program designed to promote community-wide strategy to accomplish the goal of ending homelessness. Locally, the 21-member Polk County Continuum of Care Board (CoCB) sets that strategy and recommends allocation of HUD funds to numerous programs in Polk County to accomplish this goal through Rapid Rehousing, Permanent Supportive Housing, and Transitional Housing. The CoCB has made some solid progress over the last 18 months.  Here is an overview of updated numbers and new tools to connect with the work of the CoCB.

Each year HUD requires every Continuum of Care to complete a Point-In-Time count, when volunteers count every person in Polk County experiencing homelessness whether living in transitional housing, emergency shelter or on the street. In January 2016, volunteers counted 793 individuals. This January, they counted only 682 – a decrease of 14%. While numbers can vary from day to day, more efficient and targeted use of HUD resources to our community through a comprehensive strategic plan have directly corresponded to a decrease in homelessness.

Federal funds are allocated to each Continuum of Care based on its score in a highly competitive grant competition.  This last year the Polk County CoCB had the highest score in the Omaha Field Office region, a recognition of our incredible results in the past year and a half. This outstanding score has increased the percentage of HUD homeless dollars to our community by 7.3%. These additional funds allow our community to provide a year of housing and support for 21 additional chronically homeless individuals in Polk County.

If you’d like to hear more about the Polk County Continuum of Care Board as it continues its fight to end homelessness in our community, you can find more information on their new website: www.polkcares.org. The CoCB will soon be releasing a monthly newsletter, and is also on Twitter (@PCCOCB), Instagram (polkcares), and Facebook (polkcountycoc). You can also view the CoCB’s progress using their new dashboard tool:  http://www.polkcares.org/polk-cares/polk-county-dashboard/