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Homeless Count Las Vegas: More than 6,000 in shelters, on the streets

Credit: MGN ONLINE

The 2018 Southern Nevada Homeless Census found 6,083 people living in shelters or on the streets – a slight decrease compared to last year.

Compared to 2017, the 2018 census found about 400 fewer homeless individuals here, a decrease of about 6.7 percent. The 2014 and 2015 homeless censuses found more than 7,400 individuals living in shelters or on our streets.

For the 2018 count, officials changed the formulas used to determine how many homeless individuals are in abandoned buildings, tents and other locations considered too dangerous to enter.

For example, in prior years officials estimated 3.13 people were in each tent, and this year a tent was counted as 1.21 people.

Federal guidelines for the homeless census require local governments adjust their formulas to most accurately reflect conditions in the field. The changes to the formulas used in Southern Nevada were based upon observations from homeless outreach teams who work with the homeless every day.

As conditions in the field change over time, officials expect at least some of the formulas will change from one year to the next going forward. So while field observations supported counting each tent as having 3.13 people in previous years, this year field observations supported counting each tent as 1.21 people, and in future years, field observations could support changing that figure again.

“Through our regional efforts and strong collaboration with our partners in the community, we continue to work to prevent homelessness and bring those who are homeless into assistance programs,” Clark County Social Service Director Michael Pawlak said. “As the count shows, there is still a lot more work to do.”

The homeless census was conducted over two days and nights in January with the help of hundreds of volunteers.

The totals for recent homeless censuses are:

2018: 6,083

2017: 6,490

2016: 6,208

2015: 7,509

2014: 7,443

2013: 5,954

2011: 8,003

The homeless count is a requirement for federal grants for homeless programs. Southern Nevada received more than $13 million from these grants in each of 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.

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