Homeless numbers in Durham reach 10-year high | News
News
INDY Week's news blog

Archives | RSS

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Homeless numbers in Durham reach 10-year high

Posted by on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 9:40 AM

There is Zac, aka Casper View, the guitarist, with his dog, Lela; Reggie, the veteran with cancer; Moses, who, although he shouts at the voices inside his mind, is a threat to no one but himself.

Zac, aka Casper View, with Lela - LISA SORG
  • Lisa Sorg
  • Zac, aka Casper View, with Lela


There are others whose names I do not know: A woman new to downtown, who trudges down Main Street, two bags at a time, until she’s relocated to a place she can rest for a little while. The young guy who has told me to fuck off when I have told him I don’t have any money.

More than 800 people are homeless in Durham, a 10-year high. The city’s Community Development department today released the numbers from the annual Point in Time count, conducted statewide each January.

PIT_Count_Comparison_2005-2015_v2.pdf

Community volunteers count people staying in emergency shelters, transitional housing and those living outside. However, these figures don’t include the couch-surfers or people who can’t afford a place of their own and are staying with family or friends.

Although the 2014 count was incomplete because of a snowstorm, the number of homeless people in Durham peaked this year at 813. The lowest number was 502, tallied in 2006.

Other notable statistics:
Of the total homeless population, 102 are children.
People who abuse drugs or alcohol account for more than half of the homeless adult population.
527 African-Americans are homeless, compared to 243 whites.
Veterans (138) and people with mental illness (101) also make up a significant portion of the homeless.

However, the number of homeless people who were discharged from jails/prisons and hospitals has fallen dramatically since 2005, possibly because of more focused intervention, housing opportunities and support services.

While the Community Development Department concluded Durham has enough space in emergency and transitional shelters, “the unmet need is for permanent housing.”

Utah has reduced the number of homeless by 72 percent with an obvious but controversial strategy: giving chronically homeless people homes. Not only does this help stabilize the residents’ lives, but it saves money.
Emergency room visits, jail time can cost taxpayers between $30,000 and $50,000 a year—per person, according to Mother Jones. By finding homeless people permanent housing, cities can save an average of $16,00 per person.

It’s not like Durham lacks vacant buildings that could be transformed into permanent housing. A prime example from the private sector: The old Ramada Inn/ failed Duke Studio Condominium project at 601 S. Duke St. could house at least 150 people, and it’s a block and a half from the bus station. However, considering the downtown development pressures, it’s unlikely that property will be reserved for anything approaching affordable.

As for publicly owned property, when the Durham Police Department moves to East Main Street, that building could be turned into permanent housing for the homeless. Again, it’s right on the future rail line and a two blocks from the bus station.

Now, how will Durham get creative about the money?



Tags: , , , , ,

Pin It

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in News



Twitter Activity

Most Recent Comments

So stating a plea that stems from shared experience in this open letter is a left rant? How would you …

by Jeffrey K. Miller on In an Open Letter, 2,943 Fellow Duke Alumni Ask Trump Senior Adviser Stephen Miller How He Became Such a Horrible Person (News)

For a letter striving to promote tolerance and diversity, it failed and became nothing more than a left rant against …

by alberthall on In an Open Letter, 2,943 Fellow Duke Alumni Ask Trump Senior Adviser Stephen Miller How He Became Such a Horrible Person (News)

Has this type of threat happened in Durham before? How about the greater RTP area?

by alberthall on Updated: Jewish Day School Evacuated Amid Bomb Threat. Police Clear Scene. (News)

Completely disagree.

#1 There's nothing "trans" about increasing penalties on "bathroom crimes" unless it's already in your head. …

by PinkDrinks on Cooper Offers HB 2 Compromise. It's a Bad Deal. (News)

Comments

So stating a plea that stems from shared experience in this open letter is a left rant? How would you …

by Jeffrey K. Miller on In an Open Letter, 2,943 Fellow Duke Alumni Ask Trump Senior Adviser Stephen Miller How He Became Such a Horrible Person (News)

© 2017 Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation