Results of annual Point in Time Count reveal increase in unsheltered homelessness for Alachua County

Press release from United Way of North Central Florida

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Homelessness in Alachua County has increased by 16 percent, according to the latest Point in Time (PIT) Count held on January 23, 2023. The survey, led by United Way of North Central Florida in its role as Lead Agency for the FL-508 Continuum of Care, known as Keys to Home, brought together volunteers, service providers, and concerned citizens to engage in a comprehensive assessment of sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness. 

The PIT Count, conducted nationwide, is a collaborative effort that provides essential insights into the scale of homelessness, the demographic composition of the homeless population, and the effectiveness of various programs and initiatives designed to alleviate homelessness. By counting both sheltered and unsheltered individuals, this event offers a snapshot of the homeless situation, helping communities identify trends and emerging challenges in their area. The PIT Count does not survey individuals or families that are doubled up, living with family and/or friends, or living in hotels or motels.  

“We believe that addressing homelessness requires a deep understanding of the issue, and the Point in Time Count is a vital tool that empowers us to make informed decisions,” said Amber Miller, President and CEO of United Way of North Central Florida. “The data collected during this event allows us to track progress, allocate resources effectively, and work towards sustainable solutions to homelessness.” 

Agency partners, outreach teams, concerned citizens, and volunteers with lived experience fanned out across Alachua County, engaging with individuals experiencing homelessness, distributing backpacks filled with essentials, and gathering valuable information for the survey. The success of this year’s count was made possible by the dedication of over 100 volunteers, six local organizations, and countless community members who donated their time, expertise, and resources.  

United Way of North Central Florida staff spent several months de-duplicating data in collaboration with the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development to ensure the quality of this year’s data was as sound as possible. The insights garnered from the PIT Count will inform the ongoing efforts of the Keys to Home Continuum of Care to combat homelessness throughout Alachua County. Keys to Home is a coalition of key stakeholders, including United Way of North Central Florida, government agencies, nonprofits, and community leaders, that develop targeted strategies to address the unique challenges faced by the homeless population. 

“We are so grateful for the support from our community members and the dedication of agency partners who participated in this year’s count,” said Miller. “The Point in Time Count is not only about numbers; it’s about compassion, solidarity, and our shared commitment to lifting individuals and families out of homelessness and providing them with the tools they need to reach stability. “ 

Data Disclaimer: It is common for individuals experiencing homelessness to feel apprehensive disclosing personal information. The charts below show raw data which include the number of people who did not disclose information for that particular category. Per The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) standards, the official submission to HUD used extrapolation to account for missing information.

  • At this point in time, I believe it’s safe to assume that during current leadership’s time, both local and federal, their policies have contributed the greatest causes to homelessness. Specifically in Gainesville, the continued fiscal incompetence; the increases in utility rates year after year, the increases in taxes and special assessments are but two having a great impact. Throw in the invitations that increase the strain on public services and is anyone actually surprised?

    What is surprising are the people who continue to support and vote for such incompetence; they may want to reevaluate who and what they want in the local community. More homelessness? More crime? More taxes? More indebtedness? If so, they’re either not that educated or they really enjoy being bound to what local government is handing out…maybe both

    • You can look for those numbers to increase with the pending GRU rate increase.
      The commission talks more to those they claim to care about with a forked tongue than with honesty and empathy.

  • WTF has GRACE been lying to taxpayers? Saying homelessness decreased is a lie, when you have a magnet center and mental illness, addiction magnets in the same stupid college town! Hellooooooo 🤡👹🤬🍦🍦🍦🍦D

  • There’s a bum set up at the bottom of the 8th Ave & NW 13th street bridge…he’s been there for weeks! I pass it every day going to a coming back from work…there’s trash everywhere…it’s a mess! Where’s law enforcement? Why haven’t they fined the bum for littering? A photo of this bum camp would have been perfect for this article. The city should have taken care of this unsightly mess already and told him to clean up the mess & move-on to Grace Mkt…he’s probably there because he’s been trespassed from Grace…
    Remember this when it comes to bums you bleeding hearts: if your friends give up on you, if your family gives up on you, if the church gives up on you…then you’re an A-hole.

    • There but for the grace of God go we all. I hope if you fall on hard times, you find someone more forgiving and graceful than you appear to be.

      • How about putting your personal religious beliefs to work go to the location that’s given take the man into your home and take care of him. Post pictures on here showing what type of Christian you are

        • I offered a job for someone to mow my grass. Wouldn’t pay a whole lot but enough to feed for a day or two. They declined, too hot they said.

    • This is a great comment and needs to be continuously hammered into the minds of naïve liberals. These bums are not good people–they are bums for a reason.

      They don’t have a single friend, family member, neighbor, or member of synagogue/church/mosque/temple that will help them because they are lazy, violent, and/or abusive junkies that have burned every bridge in their life.

      They have never contributed to society and never will.

      The only handout these people should get is a one-way bus ticket to California.

  • Ocala (Marion County) in 2022 had comparable numbers to Alachua County – actually about 100 more. Who knew the power of Harvey Ward and those democrats!

    “An annual Point In Time count, which attempts to locate and record the numbers of homeless people in Marion County, indicated that for 2022, there were 488 people in shelters and 188 people unsheltered.”

    • Sorry, but it does not seem to be comparable. Alachua county shows a combined homeless of 742 while Marion reports 676. Alachua county has a population of 279k, Marion 385k. Alachua’s homeless rate is 2.7 per thousand of population while Marion’s is 1.8.

      The noted 100 difference is in the sheltered population and seems to come from Marion doing a better job than Alachua providing sheltered beds. Marion county has the same sheltered population as Alachua on per capita of general population basis.

      So the difference is the unsheltered numbers.

      Alachua county has a vastly larger unsheltered population; over double the size in raw numbers (417 to 188). Adjusting for the size of general population, Alachua county has 280 more unsheltered people than they see in Marion county.

      • Steve, comparing the 2022 numbers (Alachua County in the article and my link for Marion County), Marion County had 488 sheltered and 188 not sheltered while Alachua County had about 300 in each category. That’s 676 ( as you agree) vs 600 for Alachua County. We can get in the weeds if we want on the details, but I think it self evident that both counties have a homeless problem of roughly equal size, though politically one is Republican and the other Democratic. This serves to disprove the typical knee jerk partisanship favored by commenters here.

        • That’s not the only jerking going on. Contrary to what some would have us believe, current leadership has proven they are pretty proficient at jerking people around and each other off.
          Matter of fact, that may be the only thing they’re proficient at. It’s definitely not fiscal policy.

        • The top graph in this article has over 400 unsheltered and over 300 unsheltered for Alachua county. That comes to over 700. On a population-adjusted basis, Alachua county does far worse than Marion county, specifically in the unsheltered numbers.

          The problem in Alachua county is somewhat independent of politics: college towns draw hobos like flies to manure due to the ease of getting free meals and the laissez faire social attitude. A lifelong hobo was quoted in the Mullet Wrapper some years ago along the lines of ‘its impossible to starve in Gainesville’.

  • If Grace giveaways are reduced, the numbers will go down. Just like the folks who feel ‘sorry’ for them and give them money. Just like a bird feeder, if you put out food, the birds will swarm.Reduce the free stuff and they look for free somewhere else. Same with other wildlife.

    • True story; Bird lover hung bird feeder on tree. Squirrels spill the feed. Mice eat the food on the ground. Big Fat Cotton-mouth lives in the tree roots, eats mice

  • We are starting an organization called “Lighthouse Haven” to help kids aging out of the foster care system to develop life skills to become an independent adult.
    We realized there is nothing out there for young adults to have a mentorship program to teach them these important skills. If you’re interested in learning more call me. Gina Dortch 352-535-4802

  • That 10 year plan is really working aint it! What a difference it has made around the county and especially Gainesville…. You wont even find a single homeless person on the corner of our roads panhandling anymore. Now there are generally 2 or 3 per corner. Gotta love those liberal policies as they continue to make us the shining example on the hill of stupidity.

  • Typical for this site, the comments are overwhelmingly ignorant and mean, and combined with stupid partisanship (maybe some of you can explain why Republican Marion County has a similar sized problem with this as Democratic Alachua County).

    Guess what, and big shocker coming – certain small percent age of humans are not very functional. That has always been the case and always will be the case. Until the 1980s, when courts made it more difficult to commit people to mental institutions without their consent, we locked up a bunch of them. We can’t do that anymore. About the same time, courts made it harder to make arrest for loitering and other “crimes” of indolence. “Freedom lovers” should celebrate these events, but the downside was our homelessness problem. Most civilized people favor providing minimal if temporary housing while the dummies think tough love will make them turn over a new leaf. Mostly they won’t, though some will get out of it.

    In any case, the usual suspects here have found another issue to vent their venom on, convinced of their righteousness, but still comety ignorant of the reality surrounding it.

    • The pompous-ass-correcting-everyone-else routine is getting old, Jazzman. You are just a blabbermouth (hardly the wise man you fancy yourself as).

      • Fine Peabody, then it should be easy for you or others here to engage on the facts instead of the knee jerk BS most prefer.

    • Jazz if your feelings get hurt by us good old country people who believe that you work take care of yourself, a eye for a eye, and we don’t buy into the BS the democrats tell don’t come on here get the gainesville sun to allow comments again their readers are more your type

    • Key here is minimal if temporary. The majority of these people have no intention of changing their lifestyle if given a chance.

  • Don’t give the bums $$$. That will draw more bums (that’s right..I called them what they really are). No panhandling means they will move on to ‘greener’ pastures away from here.

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