Winston-Salem officials say homelessness is a growing problem in the city, especially after COVID-19. A Point in Time Count, or PIC, is a tally of people experiencing homelessness. As of January, Winston-Salem has more than 500 people without a place to live.
Jan Kelly is the executive director of Samaritan Ministries and one of the counters for the PIC.
"Affordable housing is the number one issue for homelessness. That is the main reason those people are homeless because they don’t have access to affordable housing," says Kelly. "Our entire community has seen an increase in homelessness, really exacerbated by the pandemic. We had, I think, a very good handle on chronic homelessness prior to the pandemic but these last two and a half years have really had detrimental effects on homeless folks."
Officials with the city of Winston-Salem say more than 1,000 people were served by local homelessness service programs between 2020 and 2021.
The city is expecting new numbers for 2022 to show an increase from last year.
Nationwide, 580,000 Americans are homeless on an average night, according to data from Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, which runs November 12-20, 2022.
This story was produced by a partnership between WFDD and La Noticia. You can read this story in Spanish at La Noticia.
Eileen Rodriguez is a reporter for both WFDD and La Noticia through Report for America, where she covers COVID-19's impact on Latino Communities.
Periodista de La Noticia y 88.5 WFDD, Eileen Rodríguez reporta el impacto de COVID-19 en la comunidad Latina en Carolina del Norte. Rodríguez es miembro del cuerpo de periodistas de Report for America 2021-2022