More than 6,600 men, women, and children who were considered homeless were counted in Atlanta, Fulton and DeKalb counties
In 2002, then-Mayor Shirley Franklin commissioned a plan to "end homelessness" - an ambitious and almost impossible task - by 2013. According to a census released this week of homeless people in Atlanta and Fulton and DeKalb counties, there's still a long way to go. According to the latest biennial census by the Metro Atlanta Tri-Jurisdictional Collaborative on Homelessness, also known as Tri-J, 6,664 people were living on the streets, in shelters, and transitional housing in the city and counties. The census, which CL obtained this week, is considered one of the best snapshots of the Tri-J area's homeless population on an average night and helps determine future federal funding. The headcount - the sixth of its kind - of homeless men, women, and families shows that after several years of increases during the middle of the 2000s, the population count actually dipped. However, the number of people who would be considered "homeless" is relatively the same as it was when the initiative began.The report - we've embedded it after the jump - is a long and thorough read. The census was conducted by the Pathways Community Network Institute, an Atlanta-based consultant, with the help of more than 400 volunteers who fanned out across Atlanta, DeKalb, and Fulton one early morning in January to count the number of homeless people living in the areas. Some interesting observations:* "Five times as many individuals as family members were counted on census night. Of the total number of homeless people counted, unaccompanied adults staying in emergency shelters comprised the largest group (33 percent) with unaccompanied adults sleeping in unsheltered locations second (30 percent)"* "The largest number (2,736 people) was counted sleeping in emergency shelters, with persons found in unsheltered locations a distant second (2,077 people), and those in transitional housing third (1,851 people)"* "The total homeless census numbers for 2013 are the second lowest of all the counts, with the lowest numbers counted in 2003. It is of note that the 2013 homeless census had the smallest number of unsheltered people found compared to previous counts. The 2013 sheltered count numbers are most similar to those of the 2005 homeless census." * "The bed capacity on count night was three times greater for emergency shelters than transitional housing programs. Overall, the occupancy rate for emergency shelter beds was higher (92 percent) than the occupancy rate for transitional housing beds (83 percent). This means that on the night of the count 253 emergency beds were available (114 individual and 139 family beds). Additionally, there were 383 transitional housing beds available (245 individual and 132 family beds). If all available beds were occupied for the census, there would still be 1,669 people sleeping outside on the night of the count." [Ed. Emphasis added]* "A high concentration of unsheltered homeless people (55 people, 3 percent) was also found at the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Typically, people who are homeless arrive at the Airport on the last MARTA train of the night and leave out the next morning on the first train.