In fact, if you check the numbers on Broward County's different pages, you would think the county actually has no idea how many homeless people there are. On a page highlighting Homeless and Hunger Awareness Month, the county cites a Point-in-Time check from January 2014 that reported an increase to 3,801 homeless individuals.
Yet, another official report from 2014 (located at the bottom of page two) puts the number of homeless at 2,766. In that one, the county claimed it was participating in the same "100,000 Homes" campaign that led to Salt Lake City, Utah, reducing its rate of chronic homelessness by 74 percent. The goal was to move all chronically homeless off the street by July 2014. The Sun Sentinel reported in March that about 101 permanent residences had been identified so far.
No matter if the number is 2,800 or 3,800, one fact remains: The county's public and privately funded shelters don't have enough beds to house the homeless population.
Here's a breakdown of those shelters:
- Broward Partnership Shelter: a short-term housing facility with 230 beds, located in Fort Lauderdale, which claims to serve 1,000 individuals each year, with 899 individuals and families receiving "emergency shelter services" in 2013.
Aside from temporary beds, the Broward Homeless Initiative Partnership shelter also provides "three nutritious meals a day," health care that includes therapy for families and individuals, dental care, cosmetic services like haircuts, job training and employment locating services, a library, a clothing room, and financial literacy, stress management, and other life skills classes.
- Broward Outreach Center Hollywood: a "full-service facility" with 140 beds total, 90 for men and 50 for women and children in a center next to the men's building. When New Times called to confirm the bed count, one employee hung up, then transferred the call two more times before a final employee refused to confirm the bed count and recommended calling back.
- Broward Outreach Center Pompano Beach: a 200-bed "state of the art" facility for men, women, and families. The Broward Outreach Centers are designed for eight-week stays with averages of about 60 days for most residents. The three Broward Outreach Centers are funded by the Miami Rescue Mission, a nonprofit that made about $20 million and spent about $19 million last year, according to the nonprofit database GuideStar.