Homeless count shows small increase

A one-night count of the homeless in Evanston last month found a few more people considered homeless, but fewer of them actually sleeping on the street than two years earlier.

The count, conducted by volunteers and staff members from local housing agencies, was presented to the City Council’s Human Services Committee Monday night.

It showed that the survey located 127 people this year, compared to 116 during a similar survey two years ago.

This year 57 people reported they slept in the street or a park or train station, compared to 65 in the earlier study.

This year 40 said they had found a temporary place to stay with friends, while only 17 said that two years ago.

Suzanne Calder, the chair of the Evanston Alliance on Homelessness, told the committee that the group was formed in the mid-1990s when the federal government required communities seeking federal funding to help the homeless form such a group.

The alliance has about 40 social-agency members and currently four of its member agencies receive nearly $1 million a year in federal funds to aid the homeless.

Calder said the group is considering becoming part of a suburban Cook County group addressing homeless issues, which has professional staffing the local group lacks and access to a larger federal funding pool.

Paul Selden, executive director of Connections for the Homeless, told the committee that in addition to people in Evanston living on the street, another 350 to 400 people are housed in homeless shelters or nursing homes with no arrangements for stable housing and 350 to 500 more are "doubled-up" with family or friends but with no stable housing.

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