Arkansas homeless population count set for Thursday night

Volunteer Victor Moya jots down information from Kevin Teer while conducting a count of homeless people on Roosevelt Road in Little Rock in this January 2019 file photo.

Across Arkansas Thursday night, the state's homeless population will be accounted for.

The population numbers will be logged as part of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's Point-in-Time count of the country's homeless population.

Arkansas' count was originally scheduled for Tuesday but was postponed due to the winter weather that threatened the region.

The count, which first occurred in 2007, is typically held every two years and counts the country's homeless who are in sheltered and unsheltered locations.

Due to the compounding nature of the covid-19 pandemic, the Point-in-Time operation held in 2022 was the first full count conducted since 2020 and resulted in the count taking place again this year.

Arkansas has five distinct Continuum-of-Care districts: Little Rock/Central Arkansas, Fayetteville/Northwest Arkansas, Fort Smith, Southeast Arkansas and the "balance" of the state.

The totals from the 2022 count were released in December. In Arkansas' districts, 2,459 homeless people were counted, a 3.9% increase from 2020. 1,163 were counted as living in sheltered conditions, an increase from 1,093 in 2020.

As for unsheltered homeless people, that count rose by 23 from 1,273 to 1,296.

The majority of the state total, 859, were counted in the Little Rock/Central Arkansas area. That was a decrease from the 1,186 who were counted in 2020.

Little Rock's number of unsheltered homeless people also dropped from 573 in 2020 to 496 in 2022.

Arkansas' total number last year was down 28% from its peak in 2012 of 4,214.

The count in the Little Rock-area is orchestrated by Central Arkansas Team Care for the Homeless.