Homelessness in Greene County, Indiana

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Indiana University Center for Rural Engagement
As part of Indiana University’s Center for Rural Engagement community impact process, several people and organizations in Greene County, Indiana, indicated that people experiencing homelessness is an issue in their community. There are no shelters for people experiencing homelessness in Greene County, but service providers have indicated that people experiencing homelessness are living in buildings with tarps for roofs, missing floors, and no utilities as well as in tents, cars, and campers. In order to suggest new policy and program directions appropriate for addressing homelessness in Greene County, we need data. Reliable measurement is integral to defining a public policy problem, and while measurement of people experiencing homelessness is challenging, it is even more difficult in rural areas. Unlike in urban areas, people who experience homelessness in rural areas often are unseen; they are doubling up, sleeping in wooded areas, campgrounds, cars, abandoned buildings or other substandard accommodations (Rural Homelessness, 2018). For this reason, rural homelessness is often referred to as “hidden.” Those who experience homelessness or housing insecurity in rural areas are not as obvious as people who are sleeping on the streets in urban areas. Due to lower population densities and some people living in areas that are geographically isolated, it can be difficult for rural communities to notice or consider that people are homeless (Rollinson & Pardeck, 2019; Samudra & Yousey, 2018). This research used several sources of data—primary data including surveys of individuals receiving services from local nonprofits, interviews of key stakeholders, as well as secondary data from several sources—to provide an overview of homelessness and poverty in Greene County.
community, demographics, economy, Greene County, housing, Indiana, Indiana Uplands, rural
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