Ending Homelessness Today — Point in Time Counts
We’re Tracking Changes in Homelessness
March 18, 2014
Has your community released your point-in-time count data? Did you community decrease homelessness? As winter comes to a close, communities across the country have begun to report their findings from their 2014 Point-In-Time Counts of sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations held in late January. These counts help us understand how Continuums of Care (CoCs) are progressing in ending homelessness.
The Homelessness Research Institute has published an interactive map, which shows media and CoC reports on changes in overall homelessness from 2013 to 2014 and your community can be featured! Of the 5 CoCs mapped thus far, two have reported decreases in homelessness while the remaining three have reported increases. This map is updated in real-time as more CoC and media reports become available.
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Here are the 5 Most Common Misconceptions about PIT Count Estimates
February 11, 2014
Are you releasing your Point-in-Time (PIT) Count numbers soon? We at the Alliance have noticed a number of inaccuracies in stories in the media having to do with the PIT Count estimates of homeless populations and we have noted five points in particular on which journalists may sometimes want clarification. The Alliance's Homeless Research Institute has put together a media resource, "5 Myths about PIT Counts" to help journalists. We encourage you to provide it to journalists when you announce the 2014 PIT Count estimate for your community.
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Here’s the Alliance’s 2014 PIT Count Map
January 30, 2014
As we find ourselves in the depths of winter, we have once again reached point-in-time count season. Here at the Alliance, the arrival of the Point-in-Time counts is an exciting time. It marks the beginning of a new year of data. As has been discussed on this blog earlier this month, these counts are occurring in communities all across the country this week and have vital importance for communities in measuring progress in ending homelessness.
We are excited to launch our 2014 Homeless Counts Map, which will serve as a visual representation of how homelessness has changed over the course of a year. You can find the map embedded at the bottom of this post. As you will note, the map is currently empty. As communities complete their counts and begin to release the results, we will populate the map. Be sure your community gets on the map by emailing us your results at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure to provide an online link to the results of your count.
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It’s January. You know what that means…
January 09, 2014
It’s that time of year again: January. This year’s January brought with it a polar vortex and multiple feet of snow for some parts of the country. And, like every year, January also brings with it HUD’s annual Point-in-Time Count (PIT Count).
Quick PIT Count 101: a PIT Count is a one-night, unduplicated count of every person experiencing homelessness in a community. HUD requires that communities count their sheltered homeless population every year. They require that communities count their unsheltered homeless population every other year, on odd numbered calendar years. Communities are to conduct their count during the last 10 days of January.
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Data Points: Fewer People are on the Streets, More in Shelters
November 26, 2013
Late last week, HUD released Part I of the 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress. It showed a 4 percent decline in overall homelessness from 2012 to 2013. On the day it was published, we pulled out some of the highlights. Today we’re examining the sheltered and unsheltered subpopulations and changes in the number of beds available to people experiencing homelessness.
First, let’s look at unsheltered homelessness. Believe it or not, that 4 percent decline in homelessness came entirely from the unsheltered population: in 2013, 28,283 fewer people were sleeping on the streets or other places not meant for human habitation than in 2012. In that time, the number of sheltered homeless people actually increased. Here are some highlights from the decreases in the unsheltered population from 2012 to 2013:
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HUD Releases Homeless Estimates for 2013
November 21, 2013
If you are a homeless service provider, KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK! On the whole, what we are doing nationally, is working! According to volume 1 of the 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report that the Department of Housing and Urban Development released today, overall homelessness decreased nearly 4 percent from 2012 to 2013. Nearly 25,000 more people were homeless on one night in January 2012 than in January 2013. In fact, homelessness decreased in all of the major subpopulations of note from 2012 to 2013: people in families, unsheltered people, veterans, individuals, and chronically homeless individuals.
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2013 Homeless Counts Interactive Map (Update)
July 16, 2013
Since January of this year, many of you have been submitting your communities’ Point-in-Time Counts to the Alliance’s Homelessness Research Institute, and we appreciate your participation in our efforts to track rates of homelessness in communities nationwide.
We’ve compiled your data and posted it online on our interactive map, which is continually updated as you send us your PIT data. This map will give you an idea of how your community is doing in your efforts to end homelessness and give you the ability to compare your community’s numbers against those in different cities and states.
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Communities Reduce Veteran Homelessness by a Third
June 03, 2013
It is common knowledge in the homeless assistance field that veterans are overrepresented in the overall homeless population. And while the reasons for this, which have to do both with their military service and with who serves in the military, remain a subject of open debate, perhaps the most perplexing question is how we as a country have tolerated veteran homelessness for so long.
That is changing. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and VA Secretary Eric Shinseki are pursuing a specific plan to end veteran homelessness, and congress has come up with the resources to fund it. Now HUD-VASH, SSVF, and other programs are providing permanent supportive housing, rapid re-housing, and other interventions to fight the problem of homelessness among veterans and their families.And for the past few years, the overall number of homeless veterans has declined, even as service members return from wars in the Middle East to an economy without enough jobs.
And we at the Alliance have been tracking that progress. We’ve found that a number of communities have made significant progress. We’re immensely grateful to the following communities that have achieved reductions in veteran homelessness of at least one-third since 2011.
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Alliance President Keynote Remarks, 2013 National Family and Youth Conference
May 10, 2013
Back in February, about 900 advocates, practitioners, and officials convened in Seattle for two days of sharing innovative practices and new research on family and youth homelessness at the Alliance’s 2013 National Conference on Ending Family and Youth Homelessness. These are the keynote remarks delivered by the Alliance's President and CEO Nan Roman at that conference.
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Veteran Homelessness Funding in the President’s Budget
April 18, 2013
As you may have heard, the Administration has requested another historic increase in funding for homelessness assistance programs under the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). In the Administration’s FY2014 budget request the president’s budget proposal calls for 1.4 billion. This is a 3 percent increase over last year’s historic 33 percent funding increase. So what does this mean?
This budget reflects a strong, ongoing commitment to the goal of ending veteran homelessness by 2015. It continues Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program funding at a scale necessary on both ending veteran homelessness in this timeframe and preventing future veteran homelessness. This budget also calls for an additional 10,000 HUD-Veteran Assistance Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program housing vouchers and a modest increase in VA’s Homeless Providers Grant and Per Diem program.
This is what a fully funded system looks like: a full spectrum of programs and interventions to address the housing needs of homeless and at-risk veterans and their families. It would ensure permanent housing for more chronically homeless veterans, put transitional housing programs in place, and expand the rapid re-housing and prevention system.
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Youth Homelessness: This Year We Learn More
January 04, 2013
It's January and that means that communities across the country are preparing for their HUD mandated Point-In-Time Counts, which they will be performing at the end of this month. This year the homeless assistance field will take an important step toward ending youth homelessness by 2020 - one of the four major goals of Opening Doors – by collecting more accurate data on the population of youth experiencing homelessness.
Recently, the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) completed a series of webinars focused on showing a number of communities how to collect more detailed and accurate data on homeless youth during their counts. Though targeted at specific communities – Boston, Houston, and Los Angeles – the webinars provide information that should be useful for training volunteers, picking locations to survey, and finalizing survey questions in a wide range of communities.
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Moving Forward on a Framework to End Youth Homelessness
June 12, 2012
The following are remarks from the Alliance’s President and CEO, Nan Roman, regarding the U.S. Department of of Health and Human Services’ new framework to advance the goal of ending youth homelessness by 2020, as announced at a live webcast of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness meeting.
The National Alliance to End Homelessness applauds the commitment of Chairman Sebelius and the members of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) to end youth homelessness by 2020. For far too long the plight of unaccompanied children and young adults has gone unaddressed. Opening Doors: Federal Strategic Plan to Prevent and End Homelessness brought much needed attention to this particularly vulnerable population. The USICH Proposed Framework for Ending Youth Homelessness is an important next step in laying out what the Federal government will do to achieve this goal.
The Alliance concurs with the major focus areas in the Framework: sizing the population; identifying the key segments of the population; identifying solutions for each segment; and going to scale with the solutions for each segment. We also support the outcomes of housing, connection, wellbeing, and education/employment.
Earlier this year the Alliance made a preliminary effort, using existing data, to estimate the size and segments of the population and examined this information for implications to policy and practice. Based on this framework as well as the USICH Framework presented today, the Alliance offers the following thoughts for the future.
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A Closer Look at Homelessness in the National Capital Region: A Metropolitan Perspective
April 16, 2012
Renowned urban thinker Anthony Downs wrote: “No jurisdiction is an island. Every suburb is linked to its central city and to other suburbs.” But intra-regional social and economic dynamics can sometimes make it appear as though there are actual oceans separating jurisdictional boundaries. The intra-regional social dynamic of homelessness is no exception.
Are there actually homelessness disparities within a region? If so, how large? I examine these questions in this article using the specific case of the national capital region.
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Visualize the 2012 Point-in-Time Count
March 30, 2012
Well, it’s that time of year again when we start to see media stories come in from across the country that report the results of January 2012 point-in-time (PIT) counts. The Alliance is collecting and mapping these media accounts—or when/where available the Continuum of Care (CoC) reports—in order to provide a sense of the changing homeless situation in communities across the country.
Once again these collected reports are the basis of our new interactive 2012 Counts Media Map. In our map, we examine changes in overall homelessness (increases are noted by a red placemarker and decreases by a green placemarker). At the time of this article, we currently have 14 reports. Fifty percent of the communities (7/14) included in the map show that, locally, there have been increases in overall homelessness. The largest community featured to date is San Diego County, which has seen a 9 percent increase in overall homelessness, going from 9,020 people in 2011 to 9,800 in 2012.
We need your help!
Has a media source or a CoC in your community released a report that shows changes in overall homelessness between the January 2011 and January 2012 counts?
Please let us know. You can email me directly and I’ll be sure to add your community’s results to our interactive map.
The map provides a sense about how homelessness is changing in communities across the country. This is especially important amid current economic and budgetary conversations when local homeless, health care, employment, and other aid... Read More »
Taking part in the DC Annual PIT Count
January 26, 2012
Do you know how many alleys there are in the average city? Well, ok, neither do I…but after last night, I have a much better idea. Last night, instead of just bustling by these dark passages as I usually do, I traipsed up and down every alley I came across here in downtown DC.
As you’ve probably guessed, I was exploring these alleys, and every other nook and cranny of the Golden Triangle (which also happens to be, more or less, the Alliance’s neighborhood) as a volunteer with DC’s annual PIT Count. Still relatively new to the field and working on federal policy here at the Alliance, I don’t often venture over to the practice side of the field. I do, however, rely heavily on data and experiences gathered by practitioners every day to make the argument for increased funding for key federal homelessness programs. Last night was my opportunity to match each number with a face.
After more than three hours and more than 30 people counted (yes, that’s unfortunately more than one person for every square block I covered in a neighborhood a stone’s throw from the White House), I was beginning to sympathize with the challenges that every homeless person faces, but particularly those living on the streets. There were common themes: bureaucratic delays within departments like Veterans Affairs, long waits (years and years) for Section 8 or Public Housing, and a distinct lack of ho... Read More »
Community Point-in-Time Counts
January 26, 2012
Here’s a smattering of clips about homeless point-in-time counts conducted this week. Did we miss your community? Tell us in the comment section below or shoot us a note on Facebook or Twitter!
Homeless tally 'not an accurate account' of population in Delaware County (Star Press, DE)
Point in Time homeless count offers opportunity to help (News Leader, MO)
Camden County begins 24-hour count of its homeless (Philadelphia Inquirer, PA)
Harford, Balto. counties survey homeless for annual census (Baltimore Sun, MD)
Connecticut social service providers set for annual count of homeless (Associated Press, CT)
... Read More »
HUD Releases 2010 PIT Counts
April 25, 2011
Last week, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released national data showing that the number of homeless people was essentially unchanged from 2009 to 2010.
The number, based on counts conducted by localities and states across the nation in January 2010 (called point-in-time counts), increased one percent, rising from 643,067 to 649,879. There was a three percent increase in the number of homeless people who were unsheltered and a 1.5 percent increase among families experiencing homelessness. Chronic homelessness declined by 1 percent, continuing a downward trend begun in 2005.
The 2010 PIT counts were the first to reflect the impact of the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP), the $1.5 billion stimulus-funded program aimed at curbing homelessness resulting from the recession. Housing inventory data released in conjunction with the PIT counts showed that, at the time of the 2010 PIT counts, the stimulus program was funding 19,842 homeless assistance beds.
In 2009, the Alliance projected that without effective intervention, homelessness would increase dramatically as a result of the recession. These numbers show that our investment in homelessness prevention and housing-based strategies averted what could have been an alarming increase in the number of Americans experiencing homelessness, according the to Alliance.
Still, the recessions’ full impact on homelessness has yet to be seen. In 2010 the Alliance report The State of Homelessness in America noted that certain key economic factors associated with homelessness were on the rise. These included the number of poor households doubling up, unemployment, and severe housing c... Read More »
Did Your Community Count Homeless Youth This Year?
April 07, 2011
We want to know if your community counted homeless youth* in the annual point-in-time count this year.
Take our survey and let us know!
Every year, communities across the nation conduct point-in-time counts of people experiencing homelessness. The Department of Housing and Urban Development requires a count every other year as part of a community’s application for federal funds; many communities, however, conduct one annually of their own accord.
Capitalizing on the yearly ritual, the Alliance launched a youth count campaign, encouraging communities to include youth in their 2011 counts. We put out tools to help communities figure out how to conduct youth and the importance of including this oft-overlooked community.
So we want to know how you did! Did you count youth? How so? And how many?
Take our 5 minute, 5 question survey to let us know and if you have any questions (per usual), don’t hesitate to contact us.
* Youth are those 12-24 years of age. ... Read More »
DC to conduct count of homeless youth
March 03, 2011
Yesterday, we talked about how help is long overdue for homeless youth. We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again: there is not enough information about this very vulnerable, often overlooked population.
In fact, there isn’t even a baseline count; that is, we don’t even really know how many homeless youth there are in the country.
This is why the Alliance is urging communities to include youth in their annual point-in-time counts. All communities are required to regularly conduct counts of their local homeless populations (required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development) and while “youth” is a line item, hardly any communities report youth numbers.
But we need to start counting.
Our own district is starting this year. The DC Alliance of Youth Advocates is conducting a homeless youth survey in mid-March in concert with the George Washington University and the Interagency Council on Homelessness. The effort is meant to gauge how many youth are experiencing homelessness in the District, how youth in the District become homeless, and what the community can provide with services and programs to assist youth out of homelessness and into stable housing conditions.
DC is taking an essential step forward. In order to solve a problem, we must first fully understand it – and conducting this kind of count can increase our knowledge on this important social problem.
How does the youth homelessness situation look like in your community? What steps ar... Read More »
2011 PIT Counts Media Map
March 01, 2011
Today's post comes to us from Alliance research associate Pete Witte.
Earlier this year I wrote here about the annual point-in-time (PIT) counts being conducted across the country, and explained why the PIT counts are so important for helping us to understand homelessness and measure progress we’re making toward ending the problem.
Well, it’s that time of year again when local media stories announcing the results of their January point-in-time (PIT) slowly begin to sprout up in daily clips.
The Alliance is collecting and mapping these media accounts or, when available, the Continuum of Care (CoC) reports in order to provide a sense of the changing homeless situation in communities across the country. These reports are the basis of our new and—considering federal budget conversations where homeless programs are at-risk of being cut—timely, interactive 2011 Counts Media Map, which tracks reports on changes in overall homelessness (increases are noted by a red-colored placemarker and decreases are in green).
Amid current economic and budgetary conversations, providing a sense about the change in homeless counts across the country is important and timely, especially considering how homeless, health care, employment, and other aid programs are increasingly at-risk of being cut.
Tracking the 2011 PIT counts also provides an opportunity to get a sense on how much progress is being made at ending homelessness at the federal level, since the 2011 PIT counts will be the first count where both HPRP and Opening Doors h... Read More »