The official results of the 2019 Point-In-Time (PIT) Count shows a decline in on-street homelessness in West Palm Beach.
WEST PALM BEACH, Fl. (May 28, 2019)
– On Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 2 p.m., Mayor Keith A. James and representatives from the City of West Palm Beach Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) held a press conference to release the official results of the 2019 Point-In-Time (PIT) Count, which shows a significant 24% decline in on-street homelessness in the City of West Palm Beach.
On Thursday, January 24, 2019, Palm Beach County conducted their annual PIT Count. This is an unduplicated count of the people in a community who are experiencing homelessness. During the PIT count, outreach workers and volunteers are organized to canvas communities and unsheltered persons including individuals, members of a family unit, and unaccompanied minors under the age of 18. They also identify if a person is chronically homeless, indicating long-term or repeated homelessness and the presence of a disability.
For the second consecutive year, the City of West Palm Beach has seen a reduction of its on-street homeless. In 2018, the Palm Beach County PIT count identified 462 unsheltered residents, a decrease of 98 total persons from the count conducted in January 2017. In January 2019 a total of 354 unsheltered individuals were identified in West Palm Beach showing a 24% decrease from the previous year.
“Public safety and addressing the issues of homelessness are top priorities for my administration, and I am very pleased with the strides our city is making to address the issue. The road will not be easy, but I am focused on listening to our community, working with our community partners, and ensuring that we do everything we can to address the issue and create a community of opportunity for all,” said Mayor James.
Through HCD, particularly its Community Services and Vickers House Division, the City provides funding and direct services and programs for the homeless. These programs include permanent housing, supportive housing, rapid rehousing, food assistance, relocation assistance, assessment and referral services to the Senator Philip D. Lewis Homeless Center, and job placement assistance.
“This City has made tremendous strides toward addressing homelessness and will continue to provide assistance to the homeless with the goal of finding them transitional or permanent housing while providing the support services that they need,” said Jennifer Ferriol, Director of Housing and Community Development.
The City’s Police Department and law enforcement professionals further support the City’s efforts by providing direct outreach to homeless individuals, building partnerships with a wide range of service providers, and encouraging its officers to be resourceful and show compassion for homeless persons. The Police Department has dedicated one full-time officer who primarily focuses on homelessness issues and, also, Community Engagement Officers who also support the homelessness prevention efforts through working with the City’s Peer Outreach Team, Vickers House staff and area faith-based organizations.
The City will continue to leverage resources with non-profit and private sector organizations. Homeless assistance programs and activities that are supported and/or delivered by the City include:
- Engagement Team & Peer Outreach Program
- Homeward Bound
- Vita Nova
- Mobile Health Clinic
- Tenant Based Rental Assistance and Supportive Housing
- Tenant Based Rental Assistance
- Rental Deposit Assistance
- New Construction of Rental Supportive Housing
- Transitional and supportive Housing
For more information, contact Jennifer Ferriol, Director of Housing and Community Development-(561) 822-1250, Jferriol@wpb.org