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2016 Annual Report Released!

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May 17

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For Immediate Release
May 8, 2017
Contact: Dale Zuchlewski
[email protected]

Homeless Alliance of WNY Releases their 2016 Homeless Report and Point in Time Report

The Homeless Alliance of WNY released its analysis of homelessness for the federal budget year of 2015-16. It contains some good news, some bad news and some great news. Overall, almost 8,300 people experienced homelessness in Erie, Niagara, Genesee, Wyoming and Orleans counties and 400 were Veterans. Almost 6,000 people experienced homelessness in Erie County, a 9% increase from the previous year while homelessness decreased in Niagara County by 8.5% with 1,800 people experiencing homelessness. While there are multiple reasons homelessness increased in Erie County, the rising cost of rents in Buffalo may be the most significant factor. While more study needs to be done to relate the two, case managers are finding it increasingly more difficult to find affordable housing in the Buffalo market. Homeless Alliance Executive Director, Dale Zuchlewski noted, “78% of low income renters in Buffalo pay more than 30% of their income for rent and it is difficult to absorb any rent increase and even more difficult to find replacement housing. The lack of decent, affordable housing continues to be the number one issue in the fight against homelessness.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo’s $2.6 billion commitment to build 6,000 affordable housing units can’t come soon enough and it has attracted developers seeking to apply for these funds in the WNY area. However, this initiative alone will not resolve the affordable housing crisis in Buffalo and Erie County. Mr. Zuchlewski said, “More living wage job opportunities and more Housing Choice Vouchers (section 8) are needed, along with support services for those that need them
to help resolve this crisis.”

There are some reasons for optimism. In 2016, WNY was recognized as achieving Functional Zero for housing Homeless Veterans. The Point in Time homeless count, conducted yearly during the last week in January, showed the number of unsheltered people down significantly from a high of 201 in 2010 to 18 in 2017 and the number of chronic or longer term homeless down from a high of 258 in 2009 to 24 in 2017. Mr. Zuchlewski commented, “The decreases in the unsheltered and chronic homeless populations are a direct result of Code Blue and the increase of Permanent Supportive Housing units using a Housing First model utilizing mostly HUD funding. At the end of the day, the solution to homelessness is a home.”

You may read the report here: https://wnyhomeless.org/app/uploads/2016-Homeless-Alliance-Annual-Report.pdf