William Charles Tinker wtinker@metrocast.net
Sun, 2 Oct 2005 15:47:53 -0400

      Homeless come in eight categories

      Sun Staff Reporter



Who are the homeless?
According to the federal government as defined by the McKinney-Vento Act, 
homeless is a person who "lacks a fixed, regular and adequate night-time 
residence .."And the residence the person does have is a publicly or 
privately run temporary shelter of some sort.

Using this definition, according to "Current Status of Homelessness in 
Arizona" annual report, published November 2004, by the Arizona Department 
of Economic Security, about 22,000 homeless people live in the state on any 
given day.

A point-in-time survey for Coconino County, according to DES, estimates 
there are 1,000 homeless individuals and another 1,000 people in families 
with children who are homeless.

Local social service providers don't hold much stock in the DES numbers, 
which are based on instances of service provided.

Local agencies are preparing to conduct a real-time survey, which is 
scheduled to be done in the summer 2006. The has been slated to happen for 
the last four years, but has yet to be done.

About 47 percent of the statewide totals for homeless is of 
substance-addicted people, according to DES estimates.

The homeless are divided into eight categories by DES: Elderly persons; 
Chronically homeless; Families with children; Youth; Veterans; Victims of 
domestic violence; People with addictions, who make up nearly 50 percent of 
all homeless; People with mental illness.

Compunding the spectrum of homelessness even further, is that some homeless 
people fit under multiple categories. For instance, a homeless person can be 
addicted, mentally ill and a veteran.

And according to Flagstaff police officials, a certain percentage of the 
substance-addicted category actually do have homes they could go to. They 
either come to Flagstaff from other locations, stay on the streets for a 
time, then go back home, or they stay on the streets for a time and go to 
the home of a family member in the city.