Last year Marshall County participated in the PIT Count which is a count of sheltered and unsheltered homeless people on a single night in January. They will be participating again this year on January 25th.
The PIT (Point In Time) Count is a one day count aimed to reflect how many people are homeless on a particular day. The information is used by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Association to determine what needs a community may have concerning their homeless situation. For quite some time, Marshall County showed in the PIT Count that there were no homeless in the county, but we all know that isn’t true.
Last year an action committee was formed as a break off of the Community Table and Diana Fisher from the Heminger House was selected to be the point person for the action group. Fisher formed a committee of interested individuals and quickly put together a PIT count for 2015. That count identified several homeless families in our county. The report from the PIT count in Marshall County was called “Homeless Happens.” It showed that 10% of county residents live at or below the poverty line and another 28% are living one paycheck away from poverty.
Last year’s survey was able to gather information from 36 households in the county. The survey documented 10 families in the county as being homeless. When asked what their biggest barrier was for staying in secured housing the answers were 1) finances, coming up with first month’s rent plus last month’s rent and the utility deposits. 2) A drug felony from 5 years ago the limits my opportunities even though I’m clean and sober and 3) being able to save the money required to get a place when only works part time…it’s easier to pay weekly.
When asked on the survey what does safe, affordable housing look like, the top three answers were: warm, safe from crime and in decent repair. The average affordable rent range was between $400 and $600 per month.
This year the one day count will be on January 25th. The action group is called Marshall County Initiative to Shelter the Homeless (MCISH). Their next meeting will be January 5th at 2 p.m. in the Key Bank conference room. Anyone interested in helping with this year’s count can attend the meeting or contact Diana Fisher at the Heminger House for more information.