TAMPA — The tally of homeless people in Hillsborough County stayed essentially the same this year, organizers announced Thursday, but homeless advocates said declines in certain categories of the population show progress.
Hundreds of volunteers scoured the streets, libraries, shelters, woods and bus stations in February to survey and add up the number of homeless people for a one-day snapshot of where the county stands.
According to numbers released by the Tampa Hillsborough Homeless Initiative, 2,243 homeless men, women and children were counted this year, compared with 2,275 last year.
The number of "chronically" homeless people — homeless for more than a year, for example — declined by 33 percent. Homeless families of two or more people decreased by 20 percent, from 201 families to 144.
This year, the count emphasized five sub-groups of homeless people, including veterans and unaccompanied children.
People willing to take the survey were asked about the reasons they were homeless. Fifty-seven percent cited unemployment or other financial reasons.
Advocates say they don't expect to see full results from recent "significant" initiatives in the county until 2016.