Survey Shows Increase in Homeless Population on Cape, Vineyard

HomelessBARNSTABLE – Three hundred ninety four.

That was the tally when volunteers from organizations across the Cape counted the area’s homeless in January. Of those, 107 were children.

That’s an increase of 10 percent from last year’s annual “point in time” count, conducted over a 24 hour period on the Cape and Martha’s Vineyard.

Cape and Islands Regional Network to Address Homelessness regional coordinator, Paula Schnepp said local shelters like NOAH and Pilot House have been at capacity for a number of months.

“The biggest solution we need to do is to put people into housing,” Schnepp said. “We’re making an effort to identify subsidies and match them with private landlords who are willing to help us with this problem.”

Almost $1.9 million comes to the Cape and Islands from various sources each year to provide housing support, according to Schnepp, but that does not relieve increases in homelessness like what’s happened this year.

Identifying the problem can be an issue, though, since Schnepp said the Federal Government’s definition of homelessness is fairly narrow.

This year’s count did not include couch surfers, cheap motel tenants or cramped apartment renters.

Schnepp said she believes homelessness could be addressed effectively at a community level.

“Different organizations might be managing certain housing, and we want to make sure those with the greatest need are placed into the resources that we have,” Schnepp said.

This is in line with Falmouth Housing Corporation’s latest effort to keep a high resident turnover at the Bridgeport units on Gifford Street.

But while the Cape’s homeless won’t have to deal with another bout of frigid winter weather for many months, their numbers could still grow.

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  1. So Sad!

  2. Joe Wisnewski says

    There are so many empty homes an abandoned homes which you could buy where you could put the homeless but people don’t think of that all they think about is putting money in their pockets that’s how Cape codders feel about their money leave me I know I am a cape codder born and raised that’s why I left Cape Cod don’t get me wrong I love Cape Cod I wish I could help I was one of the homeless the winter time I had to break into homes in the winter time just to keep warm and I’m sorry for that but you had to do what you have to do to keep warm at the time there was not many jobs around but when there was jobs you weren’t making enough to get a place sometimes I would stay at the Egg and I in Hyannis does keep warm because it was open all night the coffee was cheap that’s all I need to do to staying there I don’t know if it’s still there or not it’s been a long time since I’ve been in Cape Cod

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