The annual count of Oklahoma City's homeless population is out and it shows a solid decrease from last year. Still, homeless advocates say we shouldn't read too much into this.
The federal government requires communities getting homeless assistance grants to do an annual "point in time" count at the end of January. Oklahoma City did its point in time count on January 26 and those results were released on Thursday.
This is an actual physical head count, a one-day census, and includes those living in shelters, those in transitional housing, and those who are unsheltered, living in places not meant for human habitation.
The count found 1,368 people who are homeless in Oklahoma City, a decrease of 143 from 2016, a nearly 10-percent decline.
The number of homeless veterans was down slightly to 147.
While the number of homeless families with children was up to 118
About 63 percent of the homeless are male; 62 percent are white.
It's estimated that the number of homeless people in a community over a year's time frame is four to five time the daily count, which would put it between about 5,500 and 6,800 here in Oklahoma City.
There are a lot of variables that can affect the point in time count, and so homeless advocates say, hey, this is just a snapshot of a complex situation.
Yes, some of the numbers for 2017 are encouraging, but officials worry that shrinking social services budgets and a continuing lack of affordable housing may wipe out these gains.