Affordable housing critical to maintaining downward trend of street homelessness in Miami-Dade County
Unsheltered homelessness declines, with increases of street homelessness in Miami Beach
(Miami – February 20, 2019) – According to a recent census, trends indicate that even more people experiencing homelessness will move off Miami streets if given access to affordable, accessible housing, which is critical to sustainable change. Street homelessness in Miami-Dade County decreased two percent from 2018 to 2019, while the population of sheltered homeless in the community increased five percent, according to census results collected on January 24, 2019, by the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust. The data is the result of the annual “Point-in-Time” count required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It takes place every January by Continuums of Care all across the United States.
The Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust credits an aggressive push to create more affordable and supportive housing using a Housing First approach for moving more people off the streets and into crisis housing while quickly connecting them with permanent housing through the Continuum of Care.
“We have seen a slight increase in the sheltered population following a historic reduction,” said Ronald L. Book, chair of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust. “Homelessness in Miami-Dade is at a record low. We can make further inroads by enhancing permanent housing options, with a particular focus on our unsheltered clients. Affordable housing is by far the single most important issue we must tackle if we want to create real change that’s long lasting and has positive impact on our communities and businesses.”
Final numbers indicate 3,628 people are experiencing homelessness in Miami-Dade County (1008 unsheltered; 2,620 sheltered). Notable decreases in street homelessness were realized in two areas of the County: unincorporated Miami-Dade County, north of Kendall Drive, where the population decreased by 15% and in the City of Miami, where the population decreased by 4%
Miami Beach is the only community that saw an increase in the number of street homelessness. Census numbers show a double-digit increase of 23 percent. The Trust and the Miami Beach community continue to work together to identify solutions to this challenge, including inviting the Beach to join the 31 municipalities in Miami-Dade County participating in the 1 percent Food & Beverage Tax dedicated to homelessness and survivors of domestic violence.
A random sampling of 885 individuals in the Continuum of Care show:
- 35% surveyed were men.
- 46% indicated they had a disability, including a mental health, substance abuse and/or physical disability.
- 25% indicated they had no source of income.
- Both sheltered and unsheltered individuals indicated their greatest need was housing.
The County will conduct its next homeless census in August.