homelessCumberland County’s homeless population rose by 178 from 2020 to 2022, according to an annual count of people who live on the streets and those living in homeless shelters.

The 2021 count, which was restricted to people in emergency shelters because of the COVID-19 pandemic, was 54.

The 2022 Community Development Point in Time Count records the number of people in temporary or transitional housing in Fayetteville and Cumberland County as well as those on the streets.

Overall, 475 people were reported to be homeless.

According to the January count, the area has:
● 392 unsheltered homeless people.
● 43 sheltered homeless.
● 40 people in transitional housing.

That adds up to 475 individuals, based on the count.

The 2020 count reported a total homeless population of 297 with 165 unsheltered, 38 in emergency shelters and 94 in transitional housing.

The final report, which will be submitted to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, will be available on Cumberland County Community Development's website at a later date, a news release said.

Neither Dee Taylor, director of Cumberland County Community Development, nor Craig Morrison, director of Fayetteville Area Operation Inasmuch, could be reached for comment on Monday.

Operation Inasmuch provides food, temporary housing and other assistance to the homeless.

The count is done each January to tally the homeless population during a 24-hour stretch, says a news release from Community Development. “It is designed to be a snapshot of both the sheltered and unsheltered homeless population in a particular area and should not be considered an exact count of homeless individuals,” the release said.

The 2022 count was conducted by 68 volunteers from Community Development and partner agencies, the release said. The volunteers included 19 Cumberland County employees.

At the time of the count, donated items such as gloves, knitted hats and hygiene kits were distributed to the homeless.

Cumberland County Community Development is the lead agency responsible for counting the homeless. Partner agencies include the city of Fayetteville Economic and Community Development and Fayetteville-Cumberland County Continuum of Care on Homelessness.

“The unsheltered homeless are those who are living in conditions that are uninhabitable for humans such as vehicles, under bridges, doorways, abandoned houses/buildings, parks and cemeteries,” the news release said. “The sheltered homeless are those who are in facilities such as emergency shelters; domestic violence shelters; motels and hotels paid by vouchers and charitable organizations; and those in transitional housing units.”

Homeless persons may live in transitional housing as long as 24 months and receive support services.

The count records demographics including race, gender, age and factors including mental illness, substance abuse and disability, the news release said.

Pictured above: Cumbrland County's homeless population rose from 2020 to 2022. (Photo by Jimmy Jones)

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