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Homelessness increasing in Fort Worth area, count shows

Posted March 3, 2016

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homeless person against a wall

On the night of Jan. 28, more than 400 volunteers and about 100 members of law enforcement canvassed Tarrant and Parker counties to count the homeless population.

Their results showed there are 1,985 people experiencing homelessness, an increase of 71 people, or 3.7 percent. The homeless population continues to shrink as a percentage of the overall population and remains below 1 percent.

While homelessness on the western side of the Metroplex continues to be concentrated in Fort Worth, increases were identified this year in both Arlington and Parker County. Totals for 2016:

  • Fort Worth, 1,846, up 24 percent.
  • Arlington, 346, up 24 percent.
  • Parker County, 6, up 500 percent.
  • Northeast Tarrant, 113, down 24 percent.

The people enumerated on Count Night were predominately single (76 percent) and male (65 percent). While a majority were between the ages of 25 and 64, nearly a quarter were under 18.

The homeless population continues to be disproportionate to the overall population of Tarrant and Parker counties in terms of both race and ethnicity. For example, African-Americans make up 15 percent of the Tarrant County population, but 53 percent of the homeless population. Hispanics account for 27 percent of the Tarrant population, but 8 percent of the homeless community.

During the point-in-time count, 408 people were sleeping in places not intended for human habitation, an increase of 88 percent over the 2015 count. Partial explanations for the increase could include unseasonably warm weather on Count Night, improved reconnaissance and a dip in the number of people staying in emergency shelters.

Reasons people become homeless are many. This year, the three most often cited reasons among homeless men are:

  • Unemployment.
  • Inability to afford rent.
  • Addictions/substance abuse.

Among women:

  • Inability to afford rent.
  • Unemployment.
  • Family/personal illness.

View the full report online.

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