The National Alliance to End Homelessness reports that at a given point in time 45 percent of homeless persons report indicators of mental health problems during the past year and 57 percent report having had a mental health problem during their lifetime. About 25 percent of the homelessness population has serious mental illness, including such diagnoses as chronic depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorders, and severe personality disorders.
HUD provides funding for homeless programs through the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. Homeless grants are awarded to Continuums of Care (CoC) throughout the country. A Continuum of Care is a local or regional system for helping people who are homeless by providing housing and services.
Pennsylvania has 17 CoCs – 4 regional and 13 county/city based continuums. The following link provides the contact information for each of PA’s CoCs. Pennsylvania Continuum of Care Contacts, updated 12/14/09
HUD McKinney-Vento grants provide funding to transitional housing, permanent housing, and supportive services programs to eligible participants. The following links provides an explanation of the HUD definition of homeless, eligible populations to be served, and an explanation of eligible programs.
- McKinney 101 PowerPoint provides an introduction to this program.
- Eligible Participants under McKinney Continuum of Care Programs
A point-in-time count of Pennsylvania’s homeless takes place on a night during the last week in January each year. During the point-in-time count, HUD requires each CoC to update their inventory of homeless beds, and conduct a sheltered count of individuals and families in homeless shelters, transitional housing, and permanent housing programs. Additionally, on the same night as the sheltered count HUD requires CoCs to conduct an unsheltered count in order to identify individuals and families sleeping on the street, in cars, or other places not fit for human habitation. Below are links to several documents designed to assist communities in conducting their point-in-time counts of the homeless.
- HUD’s A Guide to Counting Sheltered Homeless People
- HUD’s A Guide to Counting Unsheltered Homeless People
- PA Regional Assistance Process’ Unsheltered Booklet. A planning guide for conducting an unsheltered count with resource materials from various Pennsylvania communities.
Below are the 2008 – 2010 results from PA’s four regional CoCs counts. Among other findings, this data provides the number of homeless individuals with mental illness counted each year.
- Summary of Central/Harrisburg Regional CoC’s Point in Time Count of the Homeless. The Central/Harrisburg Region includes: Adams, Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Centre, Clinton, Columbia, Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Juniata, Lebanon, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Perry, Snyder, Somerset, Union, and York Counties.
- Summary of Northeast Regional CoC’s Point in Time Count of the Homeless. The Northeast Region includes: Bradford, Carbon, Lehigh, Monroe, Northampton, Pike, Schuylkill, Sullivan, Susquehanna, Tioga, Wayne, and Wyoming Counties. (Note: The data provided for the Northeast Region is from 2007 – 2009.)
- Summary of Northwest Regional CoC’s Point in Time Count of the Homeless. The Northwest Region includes: Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Forest, Jefferson, Lawrence, McKean, Mercer, Potter, Venango, and Warren Counties.
- Summary of Southwest Regional CoC’s Point in Time Count of the Homeless. The Southwest Region includes: Armstrong, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties