The Homeless Population is Local

On his blog, Dave Norris addresses the question of whether our homeless population has migrated here to take advantage of our services. Using the results of the Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless’ annual census of the homeless, he’s found that the majority of the local homeless population is from the Charlottesville area, the overwhelming majority is from Virginia, and those that aren’t from Charlottesville have lived here for many years. (In fact, a much higher percentage of the non-homeless moved here than the homeless.) Quite simply, the homeless are far more likely to be locals than the non-homeless.

5 thoughts on “The Homeless Population is Local”

  1. That’s facinating, and certainly does cast the issue in a different light. So, if these statistics are correct, and this is by nature a local problem, then the next logical question should be what has caused the dramatic increase seen in recent years? Maybe if we could pinpoint those factors then we’d have a better idea of how to mitigate the homelessness situation locally. Could it indeed be the increased price of housing and the general cost of living? Maybe it is the increase prevalance of those bad loans we see nowadays (payday lending, and credit cards included)

    Also, are the street people begging for money included with families using sheleters or seeking assistance? Are those the same people? As I’ve mentioned before, the people begging on the corner have gotten to be far more troublesome. It’s getting to be like it is in D.C. with people following you down the road asking repeatedly for money. (I suppose that’s why I myself initially wondered if they’d came from elsewhere – I’d also read an article quite a few years back about homelessness in C-ville where most the people intereviewed were not local.) Why are these people begging instead of using shelters, soup kitckens and other local assitance programs? Is the sterotype true, do they really just want money to feed their addictions, or is it mostly mental illness? How do we solve the safety issue created by these people in an area of Charlottesville imediately beside a university with an already high rate of rape, violence, theft and other crimes?

    Truthfully, I’m not being sarcastic by asking any of these questions. I’d really like to know. What is the reality here and what are the solutions?

  2. This is absolutely true. Homeless people come to c’ville for the services. I did… Its a no-brainer. Here is the stupid part, they ask for an ADDRESS. I’m homeless, and they want to know my address. I asked them if they knew what the words address and homeless meant. Apparently they want to know at least what street you live on, to prove you’re in Charlottesville. Apparently there are imaginary houses between the real ones that don’t have numbers.

    Resident of the city or not, no homeless person stays in the same spot for long and its impossible to verify anyway. So its already absurd on its face. It is possible for homeless people to travel wherever they want, only coming back to c’ville to collect services after telling the city they live on main st. The benefits of a population dense upscale city do create begging and job opportunities that far outweigh any benefits living outside the city might provide (aside from maybe an out of town job) and travel is an unnecessary expense, so I think very few of them are actually spending much time outside of the city.

    And to the ignorant bigot above who thinks that soup is a substitute for money, and that homeless people are violent criminals… I really hope you end up homeless one day. You’d be surprised how horrible and often non-existent such services are. I don’t know what you’re imagining its like, but whatever it is, its clearly nothing like the reality.

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