It is easy to assume that we have seen a significant decrease in homelessness and proclaim a victory. This would be an incorrect assessment of the above information. Cuyahoga County has seen the closure of 440 beds in the last 15 years, and 148 beds between 2014 and 2016. We have basically eliminated transitional shelters in Cuyahoga County. While this is a count of emergency shelter, the number of transitional shelters has an impact on the emergency shelters. A transitional shelter bed is filled 2 to 3 times a year and then frees up an emergency bed. It is harder to count people if no bed exists. It is also harder to count people in overflow spaces in church basements and gymnasiums. We lost 21% of the beds in Cuyahoga County for homeless people and yet the emergency shelter count only decreased by 7%. The reality is that if we opened a 200 bed shelter in Cuyahoga County that was fairly decent with beds, we could fill it within a week.
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