There are just over a thousand homeless people in Wyoming, according to the state's annual survey. That's about the same as last year. On the day of the survey, around eighty percent of those people were in shelters. The other twenty percent were living outside or in a place not meant for human habitation, like a car or an abandoned building.
Most were in Cheyenne, Casper, and Gillette, with a rising homeless population in Laramie.
Brenda Lyttle with the Department of Family Services, which conducts the survey, says it's not comprehensive as she'd like. “I am not convinced of the full scope of our Point in Time count. I think we have more unsheltered homeless in Wyoming than this count shows. There are some folks who are homeless that do not want to be counted. There are some folks that are homeless that we just did not locate. There’s also the issue that some folks are homeless but they are staying with family or friends. This is especially true of kids, teenagers.”
Every county in the state was surveyed this year, unlike last year's count. Lyttle says addressing homelessness takes more than just shelters, “because it’s one thing to give a person a bed for one night. It’s another thing to look at that person and say what can we really do to help you so that you don’t have to be going from emergency shelter to emergency shelter every night?”
The results of the survey will be used to plan for future programs and services.