homeless shelter

Miles Bryan

On Wednesday, January 27, volunteers across Wyoming set out to find the state’s homeless. Many gave out lunch and hot drinks, and all carried surveys for the homeless that asked questions like “Do you drink alcohol?” and, “How often do you stay in an emergency shelter?”

Since 2010, homelessness has gone down in most places in the U.S., but not in Wyoming. A national report found that in 2013 Wyoming had nearly a thousand homeless people, up 64-percent in that time. About a quarter of those people are chronically homeless. Now, Casper wants to try a program focused on helping those individuals. Wyoming Public Radio’s Irina Zhorov reports.

A homeless task force has found that Laramie has 124 homeless people and no homeless shelters. United Way of Albany County Executive Director Paul Heimer says there are programs that address homelessness in the city but they’re targeted to specific populations, for example domestic violence victims.

“But there was no kind of traditional homeless shelter. Our policy seemed to be a bus ticket out of town and a motel room for a short stay if you were lucky,” says Heimer.

He says many people’s need aren’t met.