Homelessness in Bucks County has decreased by 27 percent, according to preliminary results from the countywide 2023 point-in-time (PIT) count.
The federally-mandated PIT count is conducted annually. This year’s count happened on January 24.
The count found 313 people sleeping in emergency shelters, residing in transitional housing, or living outdoors, officials released this week.
Among the notable findings of the 2023 PIT count were a 38 percent drop in the number of children experiencing homelessness and, for the seventh year in a row, no children were found sleeping outside. On the night of the count, 76 children, or 24 percent, were found to be experiencing homelessness.
The number of homeless Bucks Countians who were unsheltered on the night of the PIT count jumped by 18 percent, even though total numbers were down; there were 67 unsheltered individuals and 38 others who were sleeping in temporary Code Blue shelters.
There were 44 fewer homeless people than there were last year who are staying in motels and hotels on the night of the count.
During the survey, 51 percent of respondents were men, 48 percent were women, and 1 percent indicated they were of a different gender. The number of chronically homeless or those without a home for an expended period went from 38 persons in 2022 to 42 in 2023.
The survey also found 4 percent of the county’s homeless were military veterans and 5 percent were victims of domestic violence.
Federal aid since the pandemic began poured additional money into Bucks County’s programs helping those who are unhoused or are close to being homeless.
Through the annual U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Continuum of Care Competition, Bucks County Housing Link recently received $240,010 in additional grant money. They money will be used to quickly rehouse individuals and families experiencing homelessness and offer support while minimizing the trauma and dislocation brought on by homelessness, officials said.
“The county continues to work to support those experiencing homelessness in our communities, coordinating resources with partners and seeking grant funding for programs and services,” officials said in a statement.
The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty has expressed concerns in past years over PIT counts, citing alleged methodology flaws, worries that the definition of homelessness is too restrictive, and discrepancies with data on homeless children from the U.S. Department of Education.
Staff from Bucks County Housing Link, with help from volunteers, coordinated the count.
Staff members and volunteers canvassed the county under the direction of the Housing Link Street Outreach teams to conduct more than 120 surveys of county residents who are experiencing homelessness.
The information was gathered and examined by the Bucks County Department of Housing and Community Development before being submitted to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.