WBEZ | chicago homelessness http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-homelessness Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago to conduct homeless census http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-conduct-homeless-census-105084 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/flickr_paul_kehrer.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Volunteers will hit the city&rsquo;s alleys, streets and CTA lines Tuesday night to ask people who are sleeping outside or on trains and buses if they have a place to go.</p><p>If those people say no, they&rsquo;ll be counted in Chicago&rsquo;s biennial &ldquo;point-in-time&rdquo; homeless census. The count happens in January because on colder nights, more people are likely to check into shelters &ndash; where they&#39;ll get counted automatically &ndash; leaving fewer people to count elsewhere.&nbsp;</p><p>This one-night census can&rsquo;t establish the total number of people experiencing homelessness, but it does provide data that&#39;s used by the federal government to parcel out funding for anti-homelessness initiatives around the country.<iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F76079691" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>Tedd Peso of the Night Ministry, an agency that provides services to homeless youth, remembers the last count.</p><p>&ldquo;It was cold, but it was not this cold, and I remember there was snow on the ground,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;But tonight&rsquo;s gonna be a cold night.&rdquo;</p><p>But who&rsquo;s still outside on a night that&rsquo;s predicted to be 8 degrees with a windchill below zero?</p><p>&ldquo;You and I may think when it&rsquo;s 1 degree or 5 degrees out, why wouldn&rsquo;t somebody wanna go into a warming shelter?&rdquo; Peso said.</p><p>During two previous counts, Peso said he&#39;s learned that for some people, a shelter full of strangers may feel even less safe than the streets. For others, mental health issues make it harder to get there.</p><p>&ldquo;Sometimes people just don&rsquo;t have the cognitive understanding of how to find out the information to go to a warming center or go to a shelter,&rdquo; Peso said.</p><p>Chicago&rsquo;s 2011 count found more than 6,500 people in shelters or on the streets, and of those, one in five was severely mentally ill.</p><p>But the count is just a snapshot of one night. Estimates of the number of people who are homeless range much higher, <a href="http://www.thechicagoalliance.org/homelessness101.aspx" target="_blank">from 21,000</a> to more than&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagohomeless.org/faq-studies/" target="_blank">100,000</a>. These larger numbers include families who have lost their homes and are now living doubled-up with friends or relatives.</p><p>Even some of the higher numbers may not include minors if they&#39;re not with their families. The Night Ministry estimates that on a given night, there about 2,000 unaccompanied youths on the streets. Citywide, there are about 300 shelter beds for young people.</p><p>Peso said for youths who are out there alone, it may be safer for to avoid revealing they&#39;re homeless.</p><p>&ldquo;For a person who&rsquo;s on the streets, that might be their way that they survive is by telling people that they have a place to stay tonight,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s their survival is not letting people know they&rsquo;re homeless.&rdquo;</p></p> Tue, 22 Jan 2013 14:48:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-conduct-homeless-census-105084