Annual Community Homeless Counts to be Conducted This Week

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Press Releases | January 29, 2010

January 26, 2009

Contact: Catherine An
202-942-8297, can@naeh.org

Annual Community Homeless Counts to be Conducted This Week

2010 Counts to provide insight into the effects of federal stimulus programs intended to prevent and end homelessness as a result of the recession

Washington, DC – This week, communities across the country will rally elected officials, service providers, and volunteers to conduct local homeless counts – a measure of the number of people experiencing homelessness. This year’s count marks the first opportunity to assess the impact of the federal stimulus program aimed at preventing and ending homelessness in the face of the recession.

As a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), President Obama created the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP). This program is intended to help the most financially vulnerable avoid or escape homelessness. The $1.5 billion program provides help paying for housing and negotiating with landlords,, as well as case management and other services to help families get back on their feet. . The National Alliance to End Homelessness (Alliance) projected that, without federal intervention, another 1.5 million people would experience homelessness over the course of two years as a result of the recession; HPRP is expected to help 600,000 people.

"Prior to the recession, we had turned the corner on homelessness, finally beginning to reduce the number. That has now changed,” said Nan Roman, president of the Alliance. “High unemployment and increasing deep poverty are driving the number of homeless people up in many places. These counts will help us understand the national picture, and what the impact of HPRP has been. Certainly the counts are a reminder that this is a problem far from solved – and there has never been a more urgent time to address this great American tragedy. As all Americans struggle through this recession, we must not forget those most vulnerable to the instability of the economy."

Homeless counts are required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) every other year, though many communities count annually. From 2005 – when the first count was federally mandated – to 2007, homelessness declined by an average of ten percent. From 2007 to 2008, homelessness stayed flat. An evaluation of the 2009 counts is expected from HUD by this summer, which could serve as the first insight into the effect of the recession on the state of American homelessness.

The Alliance has produced an interactive map which includes all community counts officially submitted to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The map tracks increases and decreases in homeless numbers, as well as changes to the community’s size. The map is available on the Alliance website.

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