Snapshot of Delaware's Homeless Population
In Delaware, there is a significant need for long-term housing options for persons with disabilities (substance abuse conditions, HIV/AIDS, mental health disorders and physical disabilities). On January 26, 2010, a point-in-time study was conducted and identified 1,249 persons who were homeless throughout the State on that night. Using a national formula, we project that there are an estimated 6,000 individuals who are homeless in Delaware throughout an entire year. Data from surveys over the years shows that these figures have remained constant. Sixteen percent of those individuals who are homeless are considered chronically homeless, which means that they are unaccompanied, have a disability and have been homeless for one year or longer and/or have had four episodes of homelessness in the last three years.
The Delaware Interagency Council on Homelessness published a 10-year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness in 2007. To combat the problem of chronic homelessness in Delaware, the Council has recommended the five following actions:
- Develop new housing specifically for persons who are chronically homeless or at risk for becoming chronically homeless because they have extremely low incomes and qualifying mental health and/or substance use diagnoses
- Remove Barriers to Existing Housing
- Improve Discharge and Transition Planning
- Enhance Supportive Services
- Enhance Data Collection and Technology
In order to meet the needs of the homeless population in Delaware and to implement these recommendations, the Council created the following plan. Overall, there is a need for an additional 2,003 beds throughout the State. A total of $43 million will be needed to meet the capital development costs, $17.5 million to meet the annual operating costs, and $5 million to meet the annual services costs. We realize that not all of these needs can be met in one fiscal year. However, we do hope that over the next 10 years we will be able to meet these goals to help over 6,000 Delawareans get off the street and into more permanent housing options.