More than 2,000 Idahoans are facing homelessness this year, based on the annual Point-in-Time count conducted in January.

Of the 2,037 homeless Idahoans counted on Jan. 25, 639 were unsheltered, meaning they lived in a vehicle, on the street or in another place not meant for habitation. That includes roughly 30 unsheltered people age 24 or younger. The other 1,398 people in the count lived in an emergency shelter, transitional housing or supportive housing for homeless.

Forty-one percent, or 833, of the homeless individuals in the 2017 count lived in Ada County.

The Idaho Housing and Finance Association coordinated the Point-in-Time count with regional housing coalitions. Results were released Monday.

Data collected during the one-night “snapshot” is used to assess the needs of Idaho’s homeless. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development requires communities to complete the Point-in-Time count to receive certain federal aid.

Idaho’s 2017 homeless population count was 9.3 percent lower than the previous year’s count.

Though the count is noteworthy, it also has limitations, according to Idaho Housing and Finance. January’s extremely cold and snowy weather made it more challenging to recruit volunteers to canvass the streets. Locating homeless people, who were taking up opportunities to escape the elements, was also challenging, according to Idaho Housing and Finance.

“The severity of January’s winter weather complicated the process of conducting this year’s count while also underscoring the importance of the team’s collective efforts to help shelter the homeless,” stated Brady Ellis, Idaho Housing’s vice president of housing support programs. “Hundreds of volunteers helped with this year’s count and we are grateful for their dedication.”

The count does not include individuals who declined to answer volunteers’ questions.

More than 70 percent of those counted are age 25 and older, and 60 percent are male. Single adults make up 64 percent of the results, families make up 36 percent and unaccompanied children make up less than 1 percent.

Based on 2016 Point-in-Time data, a nationwide total of 549,928 individuals were homeless on a single night in January 2016.


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