Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Symposium to present 2009 Metro Atlanta Homeless Survey

As the recession impacts the social and economic fabric of communities, local governments and agencies will present the results of the 2009 Metro Atlanta Homeless Survey during the 2009 Homeless Symposium Nov. 20 at Georgia State University.

The symposium will be held at 8:30 a.m. in the Speaker's Auditorium at the GSU Student Center, 44 Courtland St. S.E., and will include a summary of the survey and a panel discussion about its results.

"The symposium is designed to get those involved with providing assistance to the homeless to look at the survey results and their meaning, and to discuss the issues surrounding homelessness," said Tim Crimmins, director of the GSU Center for Neighborhood and Metropolitan Studies.

The survey is a project of the Metropolitan Atlanta Tri-Jurisdictional Collaborative on Homelessness and Pathways Community Network. GSU's Center for Neighborhood and Metropolitan Studies, GSU's Department of Sociology, and the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta Regional Commission on Homelessness, are joining them in sponsoring the symposium.

The fourth-annual survey represents examines homelessness in the city of Atlanta and Fulton and DeKalb counties. The survey provides a way to look at different factors which might play a role in homelessness in 2009, including the effects of the recession, as well as the efforts in transitioning homeless persons into jobs, counseling and other programs, and those efforts' effects.

Prior to the 2009 survey, researchers completed a census of homeless persons within Atlanta and Fulton and DeKalb counties during a single day in January, and found a total of 7,019 homeless individuals and homeless family members in the three jurisdictions. The total census increased by 20 percent from 2003 to 2009, with a 6 percent increase from 2007 to 2009. The survey helps to flesh out this data, providing context and the factors behind the numbers.

For every survey since 2003, surveyors have gathered a standard set of demographic information, including history and reasons for homelessness, but with each year, researchers also hone in on different sets of specialized issues. This year, researchers also focused on vulnerability, foster care, and criminal history as a barrier to finding jobs and housing, among other issues, said Josie Parker, manager for research and data analysis for Pathways Community Network and a doctoral candidate in sociology at Georgia State.

The symposium is open to the public. For more information, contact Josie Parker at 404-639-9933, ext. 323, or josie.parker@pcni.org.

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