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Homeless numbers in Las Vegas Valley rise back to 2011 levels

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Updated: 5/08 4:58 pm
LAS VEGAS -- The number of homeless in Southern Nevada have returned to 2011 levels but remains far below the peak of 2009, according to figures released today in the 2014 Southern Nevada Homeless Census & Survey.

On Jan. 29-30, local officials and volunteers counted 9,417 homeless, a 28-percent increase over the 2013 count but almost identical to the 2011 count, which found 9,432 homeless.

“Obviously we would like to see the number of homeless decrease every year, but unfortunately that is not the reality we are faced with,” said Tim Burch, director of the Clark County Department of Social Service and a member of the SNRPC’s Committee on Homelessness. “It appears that we are seeing the lingering effects of a sluggish economy and the toll that takes on our most vulnerable citizens.”

Southern Nevada was not alone in seeing an increase in homelessness this year. For example, Reno and Seattle (King County) also saw significant increases in their homeless populations, and Boston and New York City reported higher homeless populations as well.

The Southern Nevada Homeless Census showed increases in the number of people staying in homeless shelters and on the streets. The report also showed an increase in the number of homeless individuals who reported to be victims of domestic violence, had mental health issues and/or struggled with substance abuse.

The report estimated that 36,718 Southern Nevadans experienced homelessness at least once during the previous year.

In 2009, the year in which the highest totals were seen, the homeless census showed there were 13,338 homeless in Southern Nevada and an estimated 52,458 Southern Nevadans experienced homelessness at least once during that year.

The 2014 Homeless Census & Survey was conducted Jan. 29 and 30 with the assistance of dozens of volunteers who fanned out across Clark County to count the homeless. The count is a requirement for federal grants for homeless programs. Southern Nevada received more than $13 million from these grants during the past two years. The homeless census also provides key data indicating the need for such programs and provides a benchmark to measure regional efforts. For more information on homelessness in the community, visit the website, www.helphopehome.org.

--Clark County news release


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