EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — The Pikes Peak Continuum of Care (PPCOC) has reported a record number of people in El Paso County using homeless shelters in the first six months of 2022.

Data from a February Point in Time (PIT) survey, an annual count of people experiencing homelessness on a single night, showed that 1,443 people were experiencing homelessness.

267 people were counted as unsheltered, the lowest unsheltered count since 2015. 1,176 people were counted as sheltered, either in emergency shelters or transitional housing. 396 people were identified as experiencing chronic homelessness, the largest chronic homeless count ever reported by the PPCoC.

Chronic homelessness describes people who have experienced homelessness for at least one year consecutive or have had multiple episodes of homelessness in the past three-years, while also having at least one disabling condition such as physical disability, behavioral health disorder, or substance use disorder.

Nearly 80% of those experiencing chronic homelessness were unsheltered.

Picture courtesy of Springs Rescue Mission

Along with PIT, data on homelessness in El Paso County is collected year-round from the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) and community partners such as the Colorado Department of Education and El Paso County Department of Human Services.

Built For Zero data from January – May 2022 identified a monthly average of 401 households with at least one veteran that were homeless and a monthly average of 358 individuals aged 15-24 that were homeless, both a 20% increase from the same reporting period in 2021.

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9,139 unique households accessed homeless housing and service programs reported in the HMIS in 2021, a 15% increase from 2020.

The Coordinated Entry program identified that 3,005 housing needs assessments were conducted by providers to prioritize and match households experiencing homelessness to housing vouchers in 2021, a 5% increase from 2020.

The El Paso County Department of Human Services reported 4,278 households self-identified as homeless receiving SNAP/Food Assistance in February 2022, a 15% increase from February 2021 and a 40% increase from February 2019.

The McKinney-Vento Program identified 1,048 students in El Paso County as experiencing homelessness during the 2020-2021 school year, an almost 50% reduction from the 2019-2020 school year. Although the decrease is attributed to challenges in identification due to virtual learning.

To learn more about the Continuum of Care, and to view full 2021-2022 counts, go to www.ppchp.org/homelessness.