Cape & Islands Homeless Count Jumps 10 Percent in 2018

CCB MEDIA PHOTO
St. Francis House in Hyannis

HYANNIS – After a five-year low, the annual “point in time” homeless count for Cape Cod and the Islands saw a big jump in 2018.

Several local agencies participated in the annual count required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on January 30 and counted 358 homeless people in shelters, motels or other places.

The total was an increase of more than 10 percent from 2017.

Laura Reckford, the director of community relations for Housing Assistance Corporation, said the count provides a snapshot of homelessness for the federal government.

“This “point in time” count is looked at when the federal government decides what money is coming to Barnstable County for the issue of homelessness,” she said.

The count is also useful for local governments as well.

“It’s a way for our county leaders and other who participate in a homelessness committee, if you will, for them to look at the numbers and discuss them every year.”

The count saw the number of men and women increase from 64 to 95 and the number of people staying in motels with the help of community service organizations went from zero in 2017 to 31 this year.

The number of people who went without shelter remained the same at 39.

Reckford said it is still extremely difficult for families to find adequate housing on Cape Cod.

“We will always have a problem because we are a resort community with a lot of minimum-wage seasonal jobs,” she said. “So people can work several different jobs and still not be able to make it here.”

There are people and families on the Cape who are staying in shelters even with multiple jobs.

“We have very few affordable rentals so we do need more affordable housing,” she said.

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