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Homelessness is down, though more people are staying out of the shelters
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First-time homelessness down, but unsheltered up

A new report says first-time homelessness is down across Utah, but more people were found unsheltered in 2017 than the year before.

SALT LAKE CITY — A new report says first-time homelessness is down across Utah, but more people were found unsheltered in 2017 than the year before.

The Point in Time Count, an annual data report on Utah’s homelessness from the state’s Department of Workforce Services, found that those experiencing homelessness for the first time last year was down from 2016. However, the overnight snapshot taken back in January found that almost the exact same number of people were homeless last year as compared to a year before, and of those, more were unsheltered, meaning they didn’t check into an assistive shelter.

Jonathan Hardy, Director of Housing and Community Development Division with the Department of Workforce Services, says the increase could be because many of Utah’s homeless dispersed to other parts of the state after Operation Rio Grande in downtown Salt Lake.

“We knew there would be some dispersion among unsheltered individuals throughout the state, so we think this is a little bit of that showing up in the data.”

Hardy also adds the numbers may be a result of better counting efforts.

Read more on the report here.