DENVER (KDVR) — There are more people who are homeless, and more of them are not living in shelters than ever before.
The number of homeless people in the Denver metro has been climbing for the last five years and now sits at a new record, according to the most recent data from the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative.
MDHI released its Point In Time count this week, which tracks how many homeless people a team of several hundred volunteers could count in the Denver metro. The team counts both sheltered and unsheltered people in the seven-county area.
There are 13% more homeless people than in 2020, which was the last time the Point In Time count measured unsheltered people. There were 6,888 homeless people both in and out of shelters on Jan. 22, up from 6,104 in 2020. This includes 4,815 sheltered and 2,073 unsheltered.
Homeless counts have risen in the Denver metro steadily since 2018. Since then, the area has added 1,500 more homeless people.
Advocacies say Point In Time counts are inaccurate because they only measure the homeless population on a single winter night. MDHI is developing its own system of counts. In the meantime, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless said the real number of Denver metro homeless people is probably two or three times higher.
A larger and larger share are unsheltered.
The number of unsheltered homeless people has spiked by 33% since 2020. There are now more than twice as many unsheltered homeless people as five years ago.
Not only has the number of homeless altogether increased, but the share who are unsheltered has more than doubled. Thirty percent of the area’s homeless are unsheltered, an all-time high and up from 14% in 2015.