ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WANE) - A new study released by the United Way of Allen County and the area Homelessness Council found the number of homeless households in the county increased in the last year.
The point in time count was conducted in January 2013 and results are compared to the count in 2012. The point in time count helps a region determine areas of need based on the latest homeless count.
The study included nine counties in northeast Indiana.
The results found that from 2012, the number of homeless households increased by eight percent. At the same time, the number of homeless people actually dropped four percent. The juxtaposition is explained by the 28 percent increase of homeless households without dependents at the same time that the number of households with dependents decreased by 40 percent.
"We have counted more single homeless individuals and less households with children, therefore decreasing the total persons counted in this study," Tiffany Bailey, the chair of the Fort Wayne area planning council on homelessness, said. "I do not believe the data is indicative of an actual decline in homeless families with children, but anticipate that they are staying with friends and family, which is not considered 'homeless' by the national point in time count."
The study also found an increase of homeless people with chronic substance abuse by 92 percent and an 81 percent increase in the number of homeless with domestic violence issues.
Bailey said it's difficult to pin point reasons for the increases.
The review also found the number of homeless veterans increased 200 percent. In the entire state of Indiana, the number of homeless veterans increased 12 percent.
"There are more services for veterans in the area so it could be gleaning information from those services. We have more information so have more numbers about veteran population," Molly Link, the communications director for the United Way of Allen County, said.
The co-founder of Shepherd's House , a transitional home in Fort Wayne, was not surprised to hear there was such a large increase in homeless veterans.
"I saw it happening. They come from all walks of life," Barb Cox, the co-founder of Shepherd's House, said. "We usually get one phone call a week for a homeless veteran in need. Then about a month and a half ago, we started getting four calls a week."
Of the 38 men who stay at Shepherd's House, 99 percent are veterans, Cox said. Six more veterans are on a waiting list.
"With the younger ones coming back right now, traumatic brain injury is huge. Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is huge. Anxiety, suicidal tendencies, there's a whole lot of mental health issues. We have to point them in the right direction," Cox said.
Scottie Huber is one of the veterans at Shepherd's House. He served in the Army from 1978-1983. He overcame addiction in 2007 and found himself homeless in 2010. Shepherd's House helped him get back on track. He got a job as a truck driver, but then the company went bankrupt. Huber was once again homeless and back at Shepherd's House.
"I would never have thought I'd find myself homeless in the later part of my 40s," he said. "I've always been my own person. I've been able to work. Then life hands you those things from time to time."
Now Huber is one of the 23 veterans at the house taking college classes.
"When you're homeless, you have a tendency to lose a lot of self-confidence and self-worth and dignity," he said. "They allowed me to regain that self-worth and integrity. That's really huge. Shepherd's House is a God send for me."
Huber hopes he can inspire other veterans coming into the shelter.
"I can be a mentor for them, a symbol of hope. You can live life after drug addiction," Huber said.
Shepherd's House is currently at capacity, but is raising money to build an addition. The U.S. Military Veterans Motorcycle Group is putting on a fundraiser at Wrigley Field Bar and Grill on August 17 from 10 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. There will be a silent auction and other activities.
Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control was busy Thursday afternoon responding to complaints of pets outside. Crews respond to every complaint in the hopes of preventing pets from freezing.
U.S. Census data shows that one Fort Wayne neighborhood is among the poorest in the state, and it the poverty rate has a direct correlation the rising crime statistics.
It was something that was never supposed to happen. A veteran who killed a woman in Indianapolis then took his own life was buried with full military honors. Since that day, the victim's family has been advocating against it.
The house fire affected traffic on U.S. 33 just north of Churubusco for over an hour. All lanes were back open less than two hours after the fire was called in.
Police said speed appeared to be a factor in a crash that all the occupants of the car seriously injured.
Three intersections on the north side of the city will have new left-turn signals that with a flashing yellow arrow. The new signals will be activated in January.
A plan is in the works to move Cindy's Diner from its current location in downtown Fort Wayne to another location one block northwest from its current location. The iconic restaurant has been a fixture downtown since 1990.
Former Komets executive, owner, general manager and coach Ken Ullyot passed away Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, at the age of 92.
The organization claims such legislation would hamper the city's ability to grow economically and that Fort Wayne should be "competitive on a national level and be recognized as a community that thrives on diversity, innovation, and inclusion,”
A state commission seeking ways to improve the lives of Indiana's most vulnerable children is forming a task force to investigate whether there's a link between methamphetamine arrests and child welfare cases.
Scammers are claiming to be from a law enforcement agency and are threatening to arrest victims if they don't pay the fine for an alleged crime or debt.
The free course will go over the laws and regulations about squirrel hunting and will teach attendees how to field dress and prepare squirrels for the table.
The Allen County Sheriff's Department arrested two people for having and making meth on Monday and Wednesday.
People across Indiana are bundling up against colder temperatures than parts of the state saw in either of the past two winters.
Tesla has opened two charging stations in northern Indiana, one of them at a hotel in Angola, as it works to establish a network of such stops across the country for its electric cars.