BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – People who experience homelessness in rural areas are often unseen, sleeping in wooded areas, abandoned buildings or other substandard accommodations. This “rural homelessness” is an issue in Greene County, Indiana, where a new study looked at the number of those affected and suggestions to address the issue.
Key findings include:
- At least 51 people (24 adults and 27 children) are experiencing homelessness in Greene County, including those who live in buildings with tarps for roofs, missing floors, and no utilities as well as in tents, cars and campers.
- Greene County currently has no shelters for those experiencing homelessness.
- Rural communities are uniquely positioned to help end homelessness through strong social networks and a commitment to taking care of neighbors.
“Preventative services for at-risk populations are key to decreasing homelessness,” said Littlepage. “Far fewer resources are needed proactively compared to organizations or individuals trying to address homelessness after it occurs.”
To aid in prevention as well as meet the needs of those experiencing homelessness in Greene County, the report details several recommendations, including:
- Create a task force of key community partners who are committed to addressing homelessness and housing insecurity, including a volunteer repair program to prevent homes from becoming uninhabitable.
- Utilize funds available from the Rural Development, HUD and community action agencies for prevention projects.
- Utilize the Low-Income Housing Tax Credit, which provides a tax incentive to construct or rehabilitate affordable rental housing.
- Create a “Help Hub” to list all service providers in the community.
Click here to read the full report.