AUGUSTA (WFXG) - At the end of January Augusta’s Housing and Community Development department conducted their Point in Time survey. A ten day survey count revealed a lot about the homeless population in Augusta.
Daniel Evans, Augusta Community Development Manager, says some of the numbers shocked him . “This years count came back with numbers that really surprised us in a certain respect.”
The unsheltered population of people who are living in cars and in abandoned buildings was more than three times higher this year than ever before in Augusta, with over 165 people without a place to rest their heads.
“We think that’s due to a combination of increased need, more people experiencing housing issues, and a much more aggressive outreach to go find folks living in the woods, behind shopping centers, and places we never thought to look before,” Evans explained.
Those numbers have a direct impact on the funding the city provides in the future. There were also 56 people who were found to have disabilities or multiple episodes of homelessness.
“We’re a community that has resources for about 22 people in that category of permanent supportive housing, so we’re beginning conversations to see how to accelerate the development of more units of that nature and low barrier shelters that would meet the need of those staying outside,” Evans said.
Low barrier shelters would also help those in unique situations such as coming from nontraditional families, single fathers with children, and those with pets.
According to Evans, they do continue to see a decline in the amount of veterans that are without a home, that number has gone down over 50 percent in the past two years.