Tuesday, September 2, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

More homeless are counted in Bucks County

DOYLESTOWN Bucks County is reporting an uptick in its homeless population, with the number of people who lack regular sleeping accommodations - including shelters - doubling in one year, officials said Wednesday.

The count of homeless individuals who sleep outside or in cars rose from about 50 in 2012 to nearly 100 this year during the county's annual tally, taken in late January. Those individuals may typically avoid staying in shelters, although the extreme cold has pushed many to seek temporary relief from cold-weather emergency shelters.

The number of people who are served by county shelters throughout the year also rose between 2012 and 2014 to nearly 960, an increase of about 100.

The county's Department of Community and Business Development released the figures at Wednesday's county commissioners' meeting. Emma Weisser, project administrator for the county's Homeless Management Information System, said several factors likely play into the increase, including the most recent recession.

But as the county counts more homeless people, officials are able connect more of them to social services, which should eventually lead to a decrease in the number of people living on the street, Weisser said.

- Ben Finley

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