An annual one-day count of the homeless in Bartholomew County turned up substantially more people than in recent years, although local officials were wary of year-over-year comparisons.
Twice as many homeless people were discovered in multiple areas in and around Columbus than had been found in earlier years, Columbus Township Trustee Ben Jackson said.
All Bartholomew County individuals in last week’s annual Point in Time homeless count were either individuals or unmarried couples, Jackson said. No homeless children were located, he said.
The Point in Time survey is a statewide effort that provides a snapshot of the number of homeless people living in each of Indiana’s 92 counties.
Because of changes in the way the survey was approached, this year’s increase is likely the result of different counting methods than an indication of a growing homeless population, Jackson said.
That included changing the order that sites were visited from previous years, as well as the time of the visits, the trustee said.
“We encountered a lot more chronically homeless, but I think they were always there,” Jackson said.
“They just weren’t there at the exact time we were in earlier years.”
For more on this story, see Thursday’s Republic.