The data collected from the 2022 Point-In-Time count is used to guide programs and policies, while also identifying gaps in the homeless response system. (Courtesy Photo)

By AFRO Staff

Baltimore has reduced the number of homeless residents struggling on the streets of Charm City in the past year, according to information from the Mayor’s Office of Homeless Services (MOHS). 

The homeless population counted in 2020 numbered 2,193 people. That number was 1,597 when the count took place earlier this year, continuing the “downward trend” reported by the mayor. 

MOHS worked in conjunction with the Baltimore Continuum of Care (CoC), to count Baltimore’s homeless population in what is called the Point-In-Time (PIT) Count Report. The count took place on Feb. 26 of this year and recorded data on anyone who was experiencing homelessness on that particular night. 

“The PIT Count helps the city identify and connect individuals, families, and youth experiencing homelessness to much-needed housing and support services. It is a critical planning tool for the CoC and involves mobilizing providers and volunteers for canvassing efforts,” according to information released by the Office of the Mayor. “The results from the count inform policy and provide critical data that helps Baltimore City access vital Federal and State homeless services and resources.”

The count includes people who are living in “emergency shelters, transitional housing, and unsheltered spaces such as encampments.”

Mayor Brandon Scott said in a statement that funds from the Federal Emergency Solutions Grant – COVID-19 (ESG-CV), allowed city officials “to add more than 160 additional housing options for neighbors to exit homelessness.” 

“These non-congregate spaces were critical to reducing the spread of COVID-19 among this vulnerable population,” Scott continued. “We have committed American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to continue this downward trend and follow through on our commitments to our residents by making homelessness rare, brief, and non-recurring.”

The PIT Count is a mandated event by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) for any Continuum of Care organization that is a recipient of federal funds. The count has to take place at least every two years in the month of January within the last 10 days of the month, according to HUD guidelines. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Baltimore officials were able to skip the 2021 count and push back the 2022 count until the end of February. 

“Data from the count helps guide our strategic plan, but it is important to remember that the PIT Count results are only a snapshot of homelessness in our City,” said Irene Agustin, director of MOHS, in a statement. “To further understand Baltimore’s homeless population, we use data tools – such as the Data Dashboard – to monitor the homeless response system. This helps us identify barriers, backlogs, and trends within the system on an ongoing basis.”

The read the full 2022 PIT Count Report for Baltimore City please visit the MOHS website:

https://homeless.baltimorecity.gov/sites/default/files/Baltimore%20City%202022%20PIT%20Count%20Report.pdf

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