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Syracuse homeless count shows some improvements

Housing and Homeless Coalition

This January’s Point-In-Time homeless count in the city of Syracuse shows both some success and fallbacks in the fight against homelessness in central New York.

The number of homeless individuals in central New York has increased, according to recent numbers compiled by the Housing and Homeless Coalition of Syracuse and Onondaga County.

“Last year we had 490 people stay in emergency shelters, and this year we had 547 people stay in emergency shelters,” said coalition coordinator Melissa Marrone.

Marrone added that the number of people who simply stay outside all the time is slightly up as well, from seven to nine.

Of the homeless population, there are now fewer veterans or those in a chronic homeless condition, meaning that federal homeless programs have focused extensively on these groups.

Increases in homeless numbers are also being seen in families. There were 92 reported homeless families last year, compared to 152 reported this year.

“And if you look across the country, that’s pretty representative,” Marrone said. “I think it’s harder for families to get out of poverty with young children and things like that. And from what I’m told, Syracuse is not rebounding so well from the economic downturn.”

Marrone said the increase can be attributed to the lack of affordable, quality housing in areas where families feel safe, an issue the coalition wants to tackle.

The coalition will be meeting with developers in the coming months to discuss rehabilitation and construction projects that can create safe, affordable housing.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.