Homeless Rate Goes Up In St. Louis County

Last year more than 500 people in the county said they were experiencing homelessness, but this year, it's up to 600 people.

DULUTH, Minn. – A study completed by St. Louis County in January uncovered an increase in the number of people dealing with homelessness

The County conducts what it calls the “Point in Time” survey every year.

This year, surveyors found that homeless people living in shelters or on the streets jumped by nearly 20% compared to last year.

The study counts those living in unsheltered conditions such as homeless camps.

People utilizing emergency shelters like CHUM in Duluth or Bill’s House in Virginia are also included in the count.

Last year more than 500 people in the county said they were experiencing homelessness, but this year, it’s up to 600 people.

There are a few reasons why this year’s numbers could be higher.

“We increased our capacity this year to count people. I think there were more people to count as well, which is some of the reasons why we are seeing an increase,” said St. Louis County’s Continuum of Care Coordinator Will Wilson.

St. Louis County used about twenty different survey sites and added more volunteers to help with the count.

Warming shelters also helped surveyors count more people they normally wouldn’t.

The executive director of Churches United in Ministry or better known as CHUM says the increase wasn’t a surprise, mentioning that Duluth doesn’t have enough affordable housing.

“At best, we could ever assume homelessness would stay the same because we are not building any new housing,” said Lee Stuart. “We are generating more homeless people because rents are still going up and units are being taken down. People are falling through the cracks.”

The data also shows communities of color are more impacted by homelessness.

African American and Indigenous people account for about 40% of the homeless community in st. louis county.

if you are at risk of experiencing homelessness, you can dial 211 on your phone which will connect you to resources that can help.

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