Homelessness in Minnesota has increased 6 percent since 2009, according to initial findings released by the Amherst H. Wilder Foundation.
The one-day study conducted on Oct. 25, 2012, counted 10,214 people who were living in shelters, transitional housing and non-shelter locations such as encampments, hot meal programs and drop-in locations. Wilder researchers say the count probably underrepresents the number of homeless people because many who live outside the shelter system, especially youth, can’t be found on the day of the study.
According to the study’s findings, young people are most at risk for homelessness. Of those who were counted, 46 percent were 21 years old and younger, including 3,546 children who were with their parents. More than 1,100 youth were living on their own.
“Emergency shelter use was up throughout the state [a 27 percent increase from 2009], but we saw the largest increase in the Twin Cities metro, including the addition of a church basement site less than 30 days before the study,” said Greg Owen, the study’s co-director.
Although the number of homeless families increased 4 percent, the number of two-parent families who were homeless increased 22 percent.
Adults age 55 and older are the least at risk for homelessness, making up only 8 percent of the total homeless population. But the number of older adults who were homeless increased 48 percent — the largest percentage increase since the count in 2009.
Mary Lynn Smith