The data shows signicant trends

St. John’s Ministries sheltered 567 individuals in 2021-22, which is the most of any season in the organization’s history

The 2021-22 shelter season was the 17th in St. John’s Ministries history, sheltering those who would otherwise be on the streets in the harsh Wisconsin winter months. The organization strategized and was creative at times with the number of guests who were seeking shelter, warmth and meals. It was again the busiest season in the history of St. John’s Ministries in terms of the total number of guests sheltered. The chart below shows the trends in total number of guests sheltered in a season, along with the number of males and females per year.

There are trends that are becoming more important to discuss and note as one looks back at the data. Particularly, the number of guests in the 55-61 and 62+ age ranges. A recent Associated Press story titled America’s homeless ranks graying as more retire on streets dives into the reasoning why many older Americans are ending up homeless. Of the many reasons is the rising cost and lack of affordable apartments for rent. Below is a chart showing the trends of guests sheltered who are 55 years or older. The 2021-22 shelter season saw the highest number of guests who were 55 or older in shelter (127 in total).

When a guest seeks shelter at St. John’s Ministries they must complete a set of documents, of which some ask for information that is collected and tracked as part of the Brown County Homeless and Housing Coalition, which the organization is a supporting member. There is a negative perception that all homeless individuals are addicted to alcohol and/or drugs. While some individuals face that battle, the data shows mental health, chronic health and physical disability are the top three issues in recent years for guests at St. John’s Ministries. A chronic health condition is defined as lasting one or more years and requires ongoing medical attention, per the CDC. The data below in the chart is self-reported data by guests and there are some who don’t think they have a mental health or AODA issue because it is undiagnosed.

Finally, it’s very important to discuss that adults experiencing homeless aren’t necessarily in that position for an extended period of time. Some might think that individuals are without a home for months or even years when the contrary is true. Those that seek shelter at St. John’s Ministries fall into two categories: 30 days or fewer and more than a month (30 days). The chart below shows that a large percentage of guests within shelter aren’t seeking services long-term.

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