Today, the Department of Housing and Urban Development released the results from the 2011 Point in time (PIT) count which took place on a single night last January. The report shows a 12% reduction in the number of Veterans experiencing homelessness from 76,329 in January 2010 to 67,495 in January 2011. The 12 percent decline keeps the Obama Administration on track to meet the goal of ending Veterans homelessness in 2015.
HUD's annual PIT estimate of the number of homeless persons and families is based on data reported by more than 3,000 cities and counties. In addition to the 12% drop in Veterans homelessness, these communities are reporting modest declines in homeless in every category or subpopulation measured including individuals, families, and those experiencing long-term or chronic homelessness.
During a meeting of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan who personally participated in the 2011 nighttime count said, "It's remarkable that in the wake of the most serious economic decline since the Great Depression, we're witnessing an across-the-board drop in homelessness. This tells us that the Obama Administration's strategy is actually working and the results spur us to continue working to end homelessness in America once and for all."
Since 2009, working with over 4,000 community agencies, VA and HUD have successfully housed a total of 33,597 Veterans in permanent, supportive housing with dedicated case managers and access to high-quality VA health care through the HUD-VASH program.
"This new report is good news for the tens of thousands of Veterans we have helped find a home. Our progress in the fight against homelessness has been significant, but our work is not complete until no Veteran has to sleep on the street," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "We have been successful in achieving this milestone due to strong leadership from the President and hard work by countless community organizations and our federal, state, and local partners who are committed to helping Veterans and their families get back on their feet."
"Over the last 18 months, we have seen unprecedented levels of collaboration within the federal government," said U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness Executive Director Barbara Poppe. "The federal government is partnering more effectively with states and local communities across the nation to align our efforts to make progress on the goals of Opening Doors."
The reductions reported today are 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 than one million persons from homelessness by offering them short-term rent assistance, security and utility deposits, and moving expenses. The US Conference of Mayors has described HPRP as "fundamentally changing" the way communities respond to homelessness.
On a single night in January 2011, HUD and its partners found
- 636,017 people experienced homelessness, a reduction of 2.1 percent (649,917) from January 2010, and 5.3 percent (671,888) since 2007.
- Veteran homelessness fell by nearly 12 percent (or 8,834 persons) since January 2010.
- Homelessness among individuals declined 2 percent (or 13,900) from a year ago and 5.6 percent since 2007. Meanwhile, the number of homeless families fell 2.8 percent from last year and 8 percent since 2007.
- Street homelessness (the unsheltered homeless population) declined by 13 percent (or 36,786 people) since 2007.
- Persons experiencing long-term or chronic homelessness declined 2.4 percent (or 2,664) from last year and 13.5 percent (or 16,635 persons) since 2007. This steep reduction in chronic homelessness is largely attributed to the sharp growth in the supply of permanent supportive housing units - more than 30,000 beds between 2010 and 2011, and by more than 83,000 since 2007.
- Five states accounted for half of the nation's total homeless population: California (21.4 percent); New York (10 percent); Florida (8.9 percent); Texas (5.8 percent); and Georgia (3.3 percent).