Wednesday, January 14, 2009

W.Va. homeless ranks rise, study reports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The number of homeless people increased in West Virginia between January 2005 and January 2007 more quickly than almost anywhere in the nation, according to a study released Monday by a Washington, D.C.-based group.

Homelessness in the Mountain State rose by 58 percent, according to the new report from the National Alliance to End Homelessness. Only Kentucky had a higher rate, with a 63 percent increase.

The state had 2,409 homeless people in January 2007, according to the report. West Virginia was one of 18 states where the number of homeless increased.

Kanawha, Putnam, Boone and Clay counties had 325 homeless people in January 2007, a 19 percent decline over the previous two years.

Charleston Mayor Danny Jones has made attractive and affordable housing a priority of his administration, said mayoral assistant Rod Blackstone.

In 2005, Jones reached an agreement with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to redevelop Spring Hill.

"The Spring Hill Apartments, now Vista View, was headed for foreclosure," Deputy Mayor Rod Blackstone said on Monday. "We prevented what would have been a housing crisis if Spring Hill had been foreclosed and people sent out to the streets.

"We made it much more attractive and increased the number of people who live up there," he said. "And we have provided about 100 other new units in places like the Patrick Street townhouses, Orchard Manor and Washington Manor."

But 331 homeless people in the Huntington area, including Cabell and Wayne counties, represent a 6 percent increase over those two years, according to the study. And 118 homeless people in the Wheeling-Weirton area represented a 19 percent increase.

Corey Ingram, a development assistant with the Cabell-Huntington Coalition for the Homeless, said conditions have been improving and the number of homeless in the area has dropped to 280.

"Chronically homeless people are 15 percent of the homeless population," Ingram said. "But they consume the most resources in emergency room visits, jail costs, detoxification centers. That costs taxpayers a lot of money.

Larkin Street Launches "Mind the Gap," a Conference on Youth Homelessness

Conference Highlights Effective Public and Private Sector Strategies for Meeting the Needs of Transition Age Homeless Youth

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(MARKET WIRE)--Jan 13, 2009 -- Larkin Street Youth Services, San Francisco's leading provider of housing and support services for homeless and at-risk youth, will host leaders from more than 150 local, state and national youth service community agencies at its first Conference on Youth Homelessness held in San Francisco. The theme this year is "Mind the Gap: Effective Strategies for Meeting the Needs of Transition Age Youth." "Mind the Gap" will be held at the Palace Hotel at 2 Market Street on Thursday, January 15th.

"Mind the Gap," Larkin Street's first Conference on Youth Homelessness, brings together policy makers, youth service advocates, private and public sector service providers and agencies to share knowledge, new approaches, tools and best practices for better meeting the growing gap between demand for services among transition age (16 to 24) homeless and at-risk youth as well as the diminishing safety net of resources serving this vulnerable population.

"The timing of our first conference on youth homelessness couldn't be better, as all of the organization faces growing demand for our services while now contending with seriously constrained resources," noted Sherilyn Adams, executive director of Larkin Street Youth Services. "By bringing strong, seasoned youth services leaders together, we can better help each other network, develop joint solutions and share best practices across the entire youth services community."

An introductory plenary session, "Who Are Homeless Youth and What Are Their Needs?" will set the stage for the day by providing a comprehensive overview of the issues and needs of homeless youth. Panelists from national, state, and local organizations will provide their perspectives on homeless youth subpopulations, service needs, and strategies to address these needs. The opening session will be moderated by Adams and includes: LaKesha Pope from the National Alliance to End Homelessness in Washington, D.C.; Heather Dearing from the California Coalition for Youth in Sacramento, Calif.; and Rachel Antrobus from the Transition Age Youth Initiative, San Francisco.

Additional workshops at the one-day conference will address specific advocacy, policy and planning, along with resource issues associated with transition age youth program development, implementation and support including: Creating a Wider Net: Building an Advocacy Strategy for Homeless Youth; Meeting the Needs of Marginalized Populations: Queer Youth; More Than Just A Roof: Effective Housing Models for Homeless Youth; and many more.

Two additional workshops will feature a panel of transition age youth who have been involved as clients in youth service programs. These young people will share their unique perspectives on the issues they and their peers face as homeless and at-risk youth.

For additional information about the "Mind the Gap" conference, please visit or contact Kathie Lowry, chief development officer at Larkin Street Youth Services at (415) 673.0911 ext. 301.

About Larkin Street Youth Services

Founded in 1984, Larkin Street Youth Services is a globally recognized nonprofit leader providing innovative and effective housing, medical, social and educational services for at-risk homeless and runaway youth ages 12-24 across 25 programs and 13 sites in San Francisco. Seventy-four percent of youth who participate in the full continuum of services at Larkin Street exit street life. For more information, please visit

Media Contact:
Nicole Garroutte
(415) 673.0911 ext. 305

Riverside County Looking for 'Hidden Homeless'

Riverside County is gearing up for a new homeless count.

Homelessness threatens nearly 20,000 people in the county but, with foreclosures at an all-time high, the county expects much higher numbers.

This year, the county is also focusing on the "hidden homeless" or people who are on the brink of homelessness and living temporarily with friends or relatives.

County officials are urging these people to get in touch with them so they can be refered to agencies for assisitance. Plus, the county needs to know where to allocate its resources.

The identities of people will remain confidential.

People who meet the criteria of a hidden homeless resident are urged to call the Department of Public Social Services office in Riverside at (951) 358-5637. They can call any time up to January 28.