Gaps in Services for People Experiencing Homelessness in Marion County: An Initial Overview

Services: Analytical studies, Focus groups, Strategic planning

Research Area: Housing & Community Development

As part of the implementation of a strategic planning process for the Coalition for Homelessness Intervention and Prevention (CHIP), the Indiana University Public Policy Institute (Institute) produced this report identifying potential gaps in service provision in the system. The Institute gathered data and input from a range of sources using both qualitative and quantitative methods. For the community needs assessment, the triangulated data includes several sources:

  • Focus groups of those experiencing homelessness
  • Stakeholder input obtained from interaction with service providers and members of the Continuum of Care
  • Quantitative data from compilation and analysis of relevant data sources
  • Survey of service-providing members of the Continuum of Care

While those experiencing homelessness in Indianapolis have many needs, several were identified as gaps in the system that should be addressed to improve service provision:

  • There are gaps in available data since almost half of the system of providers are not included in HMIS.
  • There is a need for more permanent supportive housing evidenced by the waiting list of over 140 completed applications.
  • People with felony convictions experiencing homelessness (almost 2,000 in 2013) need more assistance to find employment, mainstream housing, or even for some to access supportive housing programs and government assistance such as SNAP (food stamps) and TANF.
  • The most cited reason for lack of permanent housing was loss of a job. Obtaining employment is difficult for some because of insufficiencies in transportation, life skills, education, training, and because of felony convictions.
  • There is a need for diversification in types of emergency shelter inventory including beds that are not tied to religious participation, do not depend on marital status, or require children for adults to be considered a family.
  • In 2013, according to HMIS, there were 640 young adults (ages 18-25) experiencing homelessness with 22 percent in school. Specific resources should be targeted to this vulnerable population.

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Expert Team

Laura Littlepage
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