Homeless counts in Northwest Arkansas are hit or miss

By Michael Adkison, The Razorback Reporter

Published July 13, 2020

How do you count the homeless?

Writer Michael Adkison of The Razorback Reporter dove into the details of how the government arrives at a census of the homeless population in Northwest Arkansas — a method replicated by many other communities — revealing a flaw in the point-in-time census method that results in numerous homeless individuals in Northwest Arkansas not being counted. That contributes to faulty data in homeless population counts.

“You can have someone who’s homeless 364 days out of the year,” said Cassidy Dutton, a collaborator with the Northwest Arkansas Continuum of Care, “but they stay at a friend’s house that one night, we don’t count them. And that doesn’t sound right.”

This work is a collaboration among the University of Maryland’s Howard Center for Investigative Journalism and Capital News Service, the University of Oregon, Stanford University, Arizona State University, the University of Arkansas, Boston University and the University of Florida.

Source: 2007-2019 HUD Point in Time counts for Northwest Arkansas | Graphic by Michael Adkison, The Razorback Reporter