Bucks County’s bad news associated with the COVID-19 pandemic has been omnipresent: mortality rates up, infection rates up, unemployment rates up.
One statistic, however, bucked the trend.
Bucks County’s Housing Link Homeless Services managed to drive down the number of people displaced from homes.
Preliminary 2021 results show a 13.5 percent drop in local overall homelessness. So-called “unsheltered homelessness,” which sends people unexpectedly out into storefront nooks and township parks in the bitter winter months, also fell 23 percent.
This good news represents the second consecutive year of progress on this multifaceted issue.
To shepherd people off the streets, Housing Link staff and volunteers tucked them into county shelters, using spare hotel rooms when volumes increased. It also provided financial support for meals and supplies.
Housing Link personnel and volunteers executed these high-touch solutions amid strict pandemic safety measures.
The outreach also worked preemptively on the problem. Intervention tactics with landlords included steps to delay, defer or negotiate impending evictions.
“Bucks County prioritizes the housing stability of all of our residents, especially the most vulnerable,” said Diane M. Ellis-Marseglia, chair of the Bucks County Commissioners. “The decreases in homelessness, even during a generational crisis, is a testament to the hard work of all our community partners coming together to serve this vital need.”