While only numbers, we at the IRC found these statistics from HUD interesting. The reported decline in homelessness is hopeful, and is a trend that the IRC and its partner agencies expect to, with hard work, continue in 2013. The numbers, especially the Point in Time (one day count) numbers help us gain perspective on the epidemic of homelessness, and the challenge we all face in our work.
EVERYBODY deserves to have a place to call home. Our guests at the IRC are mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, artists and designers, entrepreneurs, performers, poets, writers, creators, volunteers, community organizers… in short, they are numbers only in aggregate. Each man and woman and child who walks through the doors of the IRC has a full, multifaceted,and creative life that needs a home in which to thrive. It is with this hope that we commence 2013.
HUD Reports Slight Decline in Homelessness in 2012
Seven percent decline reported among Veterans and chronically homeless.
(via U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development)
WASHINGTON – On a single night last January, 633,782 people were homeless in the United States, largely unchanged from the year before. In releasing HUD’s latest national estimate of homelessness, U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan cited as hopeful that even during a historic housing and economic downturn, local communities are reporting significant declines in the number of homeless veterans and those experiencing long-term chronic homelessness. Read HUD’s 2012 Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness, including community-level data.
HUD’s annual ‘point-in-time’ estimate seeks to measure the scope of homelessness over the course of one night every January. Based on data reported by more than 3,000 cities and counties, last January’s estimate reveals a marginal decline in overall homelessness (-0.4%) along with a seven percent drop in homelessness among veterans and those experiencing long-term or chronic homelessness.
Donovan said, “We continue to see a stable level of homelessness across our country at a time of great stress for those at risk of losing their housing. We must redouble our efforts to target our resources more effectively to help those at greatest risk. As our nation’s economic recovery takes hold, we will make certain that our homeless veterans and those living on our streets find stable housing so they can get on their path to recovery.”
“This report continues a trend that clearly indicates we are on the right track in the fight to end homelessness among Veterans. While this is encouraging news, we have more work to do and will not be satisfied until no Veteran has to sleep on the street,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “What success we have achieved is directly attributable to the strong leadership from the President and hard work by all of our federal, state, and community partners who are committed to ending Veteran homelessness.”
During one night in late January of 2012, local planners or “Continuums of Care” across the nation conducted a one-night count of their sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations. These one-night ‘snapshot’ counts are then reported to HUD as part of state and local grant applications. While the data reported to HUD does not directly determine the level of a community’s grant funding, these estimates, as well as full-year counts, are crucial in understanding the scope of homelessness and measuring progress in reducing it.
The reductions reported today are also attributed in part to the impact of HUD’s $1.5 billion Homeless Prevention and Rapid Re-housing Program (HPRP), a program designed to assist individuals and families confronted by a sudden economic crisis. Funded through the Recovery Act, HPRP spared more 1.3 million persons from homelessness by offering them short-term rent assistance, security and utility deposits, and moving expenses. HPRP-and the SSVF program whose grants VA is announcing today-reflect a Housing First approach inasmuch as it epitomizes the notion that the best interaction a family can have with the emergency response homeless system, such as shelters, is none at all, and if they have to enter the homeless system, the goal of that system should be to get them back into permanent housing as quickly as possible.
Key Findings of HUD’s estimated count
On a single night in January 2012, local communities or ‘Continuums of Care’ reported:
633,782 people were homeless. This is largely unchanged (-0.4%) from January 2011, and a represents a reduction of 5.7 percent since 2007. Most homeless persons (62 percent) are individuals while 38 percent of homeless persons are in family households.
Veteran homelessness fell by 7.2 percent (or 4,876 persons) since January 2011 and by 17.2 percent since January 2009. On a single night in January 2012, 62,619 veterans were homeless.
Persons experiencing long-term or chronic homelessness declined 6.8 percent (or 7,254) from last year and 19.3 percent (or 23,939 persons) since 2007.
Homelessness among individuals declined 1.4 percent (or 5,457) from a year ago and 6.8 percent since 2007. Meanwhile, the number of homeless families increased slightly (1.4 %) from last year though declining 3.7 percent since 2007.
Street homelessness (“the unsheltered homeless population) was unchanged since January 2011 yet declined 13.1 percent (or 36,860 people) since 2007.
Five states accounted for nearly half of the nation’s population in 2012: California (20.7 percent), New York 11.0 percent), Florida (8.7 percent), Texas (5.4 percent), and Georgia (3.2 percent).