Topeka and Shawnee County’s homeless population is at a four-year high, according to numbers released Thursday from the City of Topeka’s annual Point in Time Homeless Count.
The count took place on January 25. The one-day event provides a snapshot of the individuals in the community who are experiencing homelessness, as defined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). More than 40 people helped with this year’s count.
According to the count, 412 people and 322 households are experiencing homelessness in Topeka and Shawnee County. 59% of those who are homeless are male, while 40% are female. 157 people are unsheltered, meaning they are not living in an emergency shelter or in transitional housing.
“The increase in the number of unsheltered homeless is no surprise to the Topeka/Shawnee County Homeless Task Force,” said Corrie Wright, Division Director of Housing Services for the City of Topeka. “It is imperative that the community works collaboratively to help address these growing numbers. Under City Manager Stephen Wade’s leadership, and with support from the Topeka Governing Body, we look forward to working collaboratively with the city’s consultant and community partners to reach long-term solutions.”
Below is a chart that breaks down the numbers from the previous four counts. For a more detailed look at the 2023 numbers, visit https://cot-wp-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2023/02/16173423/City-of-Topeka-Point-in-Time-Homeless-Count-2023.pdf.
|# of Veteran Households||40||16||37||25|
|# of Individuals in an Emergency Shelter||254||155||163||194|
|# of Individuals in Transitional Housing||51||38||54||61|
|# of Individuals Unsheltered||68||105||148||157|
To receive funding for programs, HUD requires communities complete a count each year. The count ensures the city can obtain the appropriate level of funding to be able to provide needed services to those experiencing homelessness and those at risk for homelessness.