On January 25, 2006, more than 1,711 men women and children across the Triangle were homeless, Triangle United Way says.
Police officers, outreach workers, housing providers and volunteers joined forces to conduct a “point-in-time” count of homeless people living on the street and in shelters in Wake, Durham and Orange counties on that night.
That number may grow because some Wake and Durham County numbers have not yet been reported.
Preliminary estimates showed 981 homeless people in Wake County, down from 1,106 in 2005, and 493 in Durham County, down from 535.
Final numbers in Orange County showed 237 homeless, up from 230 last year.
The state Department of Health and Human Services says that three to four homeless people in the state have some sort of mental illness that contributes to their being homeless for longer than other populations.
Without a home, it is difficult for mentally-ill people to take medications regularly, or to attend mental-health appointments
And while some mentally-ill homeless people receive federal disability payments, that income is less than the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in the Triangle, United Way says.
“Untreated mental illness and disability coupled with lack of affordable housing contributes to homelessness and presents barriers to ending it,” Craig Chancellor, president and CEO of Triangle United Way, says in a statement.
Wake County has developed a plan to end homelessness over the next decade, and will present a one-year progress report in April.
Durham will release its 10-year plan in March, and Orange County is in the process of developing its plan.