Homelessness numbers down across the state, up in Indianapolis

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Indianapolis IND-- Some good news to pass along when it comes to those living on the streets in the Hoosier state.

According to the latest national estimate by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), homelessness has decreased over the past 7 years.

In fact, the report found that from 2016 to 2017, there was a 6.2 % decrease.

But some experts warn there’s a lot more to those numbers.

“We have to be careful looking at one year’s numbers and comparing them to the prior years because there can be irregularities,” said Alan Witchey of the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention & Prevention (CHIP).

In Indianapolis though, officials are seeing the opposite.

These days, shelters like the Wheeler Mission are overflowing with people, especially during the colder months.

“This time of year and into January and February, we’ll serve probably around 750 people on any given night. Men, women, and children at all of our facilities,” said Chief Development Officer Steve Kerr.

According to CHIP, in Indianapolis, homelessness numbers in 2017 were up nearly 10 %. It’s a trend that’s also playing out across the county.

For temporary shelters like the Wheeler Mission, that is forcing them to expand services and open up their doors to even more people.

“We accept anyone who comes in needing services so we’ll move them into other facilities as needed,” Kerr explained.

Yesterday, the mayor announced a new space has opened for homeless men battling cold winter nights.

The temporary shelter is at the Central Christian Church and can accommodate up to  50 men.

CHIP officials say they will be having another count of the homeless in about two weeks to get updated numbers.

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