Census of the Homeless
There are many reasons why families and individuals become homeless: job loss; mental illness; family breakup; inability to afford housing costs; and health care costs. The impact of homelessness on a community is far reaching and long-lasting. The cost to the community as a whole can be measured by expenditures for police intervention, incarceration, medical treatment and hospitalization, and emergency assistance.
We cannot point to a single number and say we have successfully assisted every person or family who will ever become homeless. However what we can do and have been doing is to reduce the number of people that become homeless and shorten the length of time that they experience homelessness.
Understanding the Scope of the Problem
The primary sources of data about the homeless in Garland and their service needs is the annual survey of people who are homeless, known in Garland as the Make It Count Day, but nationally as the Point in Time Count (PIT), and the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS), a computerized data collection system used by service providers. The PIT, conducted over a 24-hour period on the fourth Thursday in January of each year provides an unduplicated count of individuals and families in a shelter as well as those living on the street.
The City has taken an active role in addressing homelessness for the previous 14 years by working with non-profit, faith based and regional partners to plan and implement programs addressing homelessness. Many of the existing organizations and services in Garland were started as an initiative by faith based organizations who recognized that a separate non-profit was needed to carry out homeless assistance programs and obtain grants. Our system has always been a combination and/or partnership of government, faith organizations and non-profits working together to offer services for person experiencing homelessness.