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Mayor's Office

2004 Media Releases

November 19, 2004
For More Information Contact:
Bradd Schmeichel, Urban Development, 441-7856
Tiffany Mullison, Fresh Start, 475-7777
Susanne Blue, Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach, 477-4116
Merry Wills, Cedars, 437-8807
Dennis Hoffman, CenterPointe, 475-5161

Mayor Releases New Homeless Count

Mayor Coleen J. Seng today released the results of a survey estimating that 1,954 people are homeless in Lincoln, including 292 children. The "Point in Time Count" was conducted by organizations that provide services to the homeless.

"Lincoln is focused on the prevention of homelessness," said Mayor Seng as she issued a proclamation declaring November as Homeless and Hunger Awareness Month in the City of Lincoln. "There are so many agencies and individuals who are not only seeking out those root causes of homelessness, but working each day to prevent them. I want to thank everyone who supports the efforts in our community to combat homelessness and hunger."

The Mayor signed the proclamation at Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach, where she was joined by members of the Lincoln-Lancaster County Homeless Coalition and its Continuum of Care Planning and Evaluation Committee.

Other findings from the "Point in Time" count include:

  • The number of individuals in emergency shelter was 82, and the number in transitional shelter was 569.
  • The number of family members in emergency shelter was 73, and the number in transitional housing was 370.
  • The number of individuals on the street was 183, and the number of families was 20.

Susanne Blue, executive director at Matt Talbot Kitchen & Outreach, says the kitchen has been providing an average of 10,000 meals per month over the past quarter. She projects that over 110,000 meals will be provided by the end of the year - an all-time high for the organization. In 2003, 100,745 meals were provided. The significant increase may be due to the economy and the expanded space at the kitchen and outreach center. A major facility expansion project was completed this past year.

Blue said advocates believe the actual number of homeless is higher than that identified in the "Point in Time Count" because those not receiving services at the time the survey was conducted were not counted. Homeless who are living in cars or motel rooms or staying with family or friends were not counted.

Scott Young, Executive Director of Lincoln Food Bank, said his agency distributed over 2.1 million pounds of food in the first 10 months of this year. This is the equivalent of 5,521 meals a day to the 91 agencies that operate 189 programs in the 16-county service area.

"Our Holiday Food Drive will begin November 22, and we are hopeful that we will have enough food on the shelves to get our agencies through the difficult winter months," said Young. "Food is a critical need of the working poor and homeless 12 months a year, and by giving to the drive people can make a real difference in the lives of these people this winter."

The Lincoln-Lancaster County Homeless Coalition works to educate the public and raise awareness of issues surrounding the homeless and to encourage citizen involvement. The Coalition's Continuum of Care Planning and Evaluation Committee identifies gaps in services, coordinates the "Point in Time Count" and conducts a peer review of service providers.

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