Wyoming’s first comprehensive plan to tackle homelessness was released on Thursday.
Titled “A Home for Everyone,” the fifty-six page document lays out a strategy for how Wyoming will tackle homelessness over the next ten years.
This year, state officials counted 757 homeless people in Wyoming. Few were counted in the western half of the state, where according to the plan, there are no homeless services outside of Jackson.
Wyoming homelessness coordinator Brenda Lyttle says that’s not because there are no homeless people there--it’s that they don’t fit the federal definition of what it means to be homeless.
“We believe that there is a population in the western half of the state that ‘doubles up’ as we call it,” Lyttle said. “They stay with family and friends. We see that a lot in the Wind River Reservation.”
Wyoming’s homelessness plan calls for greater collaboration between service providers, and more of a focus on long term housing solutions. The plan makes the state eligible for more funding from the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. But Congress has not increased HUD’s budget at all recently, so Lyttle says homelessness service providers in the state will be focusing on obtaining grants and private donations.
To that end, the Wyoming Homeless Collaborative, a public-private partnership, recently filed for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.