DHHS Releases Data Assessing State’s Homeless Population

Concord, NH - The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Bureau of Homeless and Housing Services (BHHS), is announcing the results of the annual one-day statewide ‘Point-In-Time’ (PIT) count of homeless individuals. The count helps assess the current homeless situation in our State.

This year’s count took place on January 30, 2008 from 12:00 midnight to 11:59 p.m. and targeted city/town welfare offices, homeless shelters, hospitals, soup kitchens, food pantries, outreach workers, and other providers serving homeless people. The count revealed that there were 2,610 homeless individuals across the state on that particular day.

“It’s sobering to realize that for one day there were more than twenty-six hundred people in our State experiencing homelessness,” said DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas. ”This count is a startling reminder of the critical need for additional housing assistance in New Hampshire.”

Of the 2,610 homeless people, 1535 were sheltered and 484 were unsheltered and living in places not meant for human habitation. For the first time, this year's count counted people temporarily “doubled up” or “couch surfing” and without a permanent nighttime residence, and found 591 individuals who were in this situation. The count identified 20% of the homeless in the state as being children under 17, and 14% as young people age 18-25. Further analysis is planned to identify trends and service issues.

“The annual PIT count provides BHHS with important data to identify both who is homeless in the State and where these people are located,” stated BHHS Administrator Maureen Ryan. “By coordinating this effort and requesting information from not just State-funded shelters but local welfare offices, food pantries and others in the community who may serve people experiencing homelessness we obtain a more accurate count. This information helps us ensure we are targeting services in the areas and populations in need.”

For more information about DHHS - Bureau of Homeless and Housing Services or the PIT count visit our website at www.dhhs.state.nh.us/DHHS/OHHTS/default.htm.