Individuals identified as chronic homeless are those that have a disability and have been living in a place not meant for human habitation, emergency shelter, or safe haven for at least one year either consecutively or 4 separate occasions totaling one year during the past three years. The United States Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) estimates that as of the 2016 annual PIT count 77,486 people are experiencing chronic homelessness nationally with 24,596 being unsheltered. During the 2017 Point in Time (PIT) count in Spokane County, 325 persons were identified as chronically homeless which is a 73% increase since the 2016 PIT count.
Individuals experiencing chronic homelessness need an additional layer of services to acquire and maintain successful permanent housing. These services are tailored to the clients’ level of need to achieve success. Our local continuum of care strategically leverages various local, State, and Federal funds in order to provide Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) where persons experiencing chronic homelessness can access mainstream resources and work with their case manager to address the factors that contributed to their time displaced.
Ending chronic homelessness does not mean no person will never experience homelessness, but rather should it occur our community has a comprehensive response to ensure that it is rare, brief and non-recurring. HUD dictates that in order to effectively end homelessness among those identified as chronically homeless, we have identified all persons experiencing chronic homelessness and that our community provides shelter immediately to those experiencing chronic unsheltered homelessness who wants it. Our community must also provide service-intensive transitional housing only in limited instance and our community has the capacity and effectively prioritizes people for permanent housing. To ensure homelessness is non-recurring, our community must have the resources, plans, partnerships and system capacity in place should anyone identified as chronically homeless do not fall into homelessness again or, if they do, are quickly reconnected to permanent housing.