FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, May 10, 2018
Media Contact: Molly Moses
Report Finds Nearly 60,000 Ohioans Homeless in 2016
COLUMBUS - The Ohio Human Services Data Warehouse (OHSDW) has released the first in a series of groundbreaking reports exposing the troubling extent of Ohio's homelessness crisis. It finds that 58,484 Ohioans received homeless services in 2016 from seven of Ohio's nine Continuum of Care (CoCs) organizations; that's more than the entire population of Vinton, Monroe, Noble and Morgan counties combined.
The report, "Confronting Homelessness: Examining the Scope of Ohio's Silent Crisis and Its Local Solutions," is the result of a years-long collaboration between public and private sectors to combine and assess previously private and dispersed information. The report analyzes data from 2012 to 2016 from seven of Ohio's CoCs, homeless service providers covering 86 of Ohio's 88 counties. In these five years, 163,075 individuals experiencing homelessness received services from these CoCs.
"This valuable, first-of-its-kind report in Ohio will aid policy makers in developing strategies to help vulnerable unhoused Ohioans, many of whom are children, veterans and domestic abuse victims," says Sean Thomas, Executive Director of the Ohio Housing Finance Agency.
Over 30 percent of people seeking homelessness help were children under the age of 18, including 6,257 infants younger than one year of age. More than seven percent of all clients were military veterans; in 2016 alone, over 4,000 veterans were served. Thirty-eight percent of all adult women served reported being victims of domestic violence.
Racial representation in the homeless system also speaks to deep inequalities in Ohio; although Ohio's population was 12.3 percent black during the study period, black individuals made up 42.9 percent of all clients receiving homelessness services. Conversely, although composing 82.2 percent of Ohio's population, 51.4 percent of clients were white.
Unfortunately, the report also shows that there is no easy solution to homelessness; of those who access homeless prevention services during the study period, 3,500 individuals nevertheless exited the programs to a place not fit for human habitation, including 210 people in households with children.
Eliminating homelessness is one of Ohio's policy concerns; however, until now, few data sources existed to help policymakers and practitioners understand the size and nature of the population experiencing homelessness. This report suggests that other measurements of homelessness radically underestimate the number of individuals affected; for example, the 2017 Point-In-Time (PIT) count identified 10,095 homeless individuals, far fewer than the numbers uncovered in this report.
OHSDW is comprised of the Ohio Housing Finance Agency (OHFA), the Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services (OMHAS), Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) and Ohio's Continuum of Care organizations (CoCs).
In 2015, OHFA provided $32 million to Continuums of Care statewide to assist in their strategies to end homelessness. This funding boost, the Capital Funding to End Homelessness Initiative, was in addition to programming that OHFA already provides annually to finance the development of permanent supportive housing for individuals experiencing homelessness. To address the growing needs of those experiencing homelessness in Ohio, OHFA and its partners remain committed to further studying and addressing the issues that affect Ohioans' ability to access quality, safe and affordable housing.