ATLANTA — In early July, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms' announced the city's partnership with Partners for Home, Inc. would be extended to continue to help homelessness in Atlanta.
With it, nearly 500 people were placed into permanent housing and were provided with wrap-around services during the pandemic with Partners for Home, according to the mayor's office.
Shortly after, 11Alive received a question from viewer Kae Holland, saying she heard the homeless population in Atlanta has doubled since the start of the pandemic.
The 11Alive team reached out to Partners for Home to get the answer on that.
Has the homeless population in Atlanta doubled since the start of the pandemic?
No, the homeless, sheltered population has actually decreased. However, the unsheltered statistics were not gathered this year due to COVID-19.
WHAT WE FOUND
Partners for Home, which collects data on the homeless population and reports it to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, found that the number of people experiencing homelessness has decreased, according to statistics the group gathered of the sheltered population.
"We believe that statement is false. In fact, our point in time count that was conducted in January of this past year, showed a reduction in the number of people in shelters of 13% from the prior year," said CEO Cathryn Marchman.
This year the group was not able to conduct a count outside due to the pandemic, however the number of people in shelters went down.
It found a 24% reduction in the number of total people in emergency shelters from 2019 to 2020 as well as a 34% reduction in the number of people experiencing homelessness for the first time.
Prior to that, since 2018, its annual numbers had been pretty stagnant.
"Those are pretty substantial reductions and we believe they were directly a result of COVID," she added. "More people were probably able to stay in place where they had been residing which reduced the overall number throughout the year of people coming into our system that may have normally come into our system but for COVID."
Marchman said the pandemic has been similar to what they see during the winter months, where people tend to be more sympathetic and allow friends or family to stay with them, driving the number of people experiencing homelessness down.