December 10, 2012

HUD’s 2012 Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness

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On a single night in January 2012, cities across the country walked through their communities to do a one-night count of their homeless population who live in shelters and on the streets.  This annual point-in-time count aims to measure homelessness over the course of one night every January.

Today, HUD reports the results of the count show that there was a slight decline in homelessness in 2012 based on reports from over 3,000 cities and counties.  This includes a seven percent drop in homelessness among veterans and those experiencing long-term or chronic homelessness.

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).

Thanks to the close collaboration between HUD and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on the joint program HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH), we are seeing the decline in veterans’ homelessness.  The program has provided more than 42,000 homeless veterans permanent supportive housing through rental vouchers provided by HUD along with supportive services and case management by VA. Key to this success has been VA and HUD’s implementation of the Housing First approach endorsed by the Administration’s strategic plan to prevent and end homelessness, 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 1.3 million persons from homelessness by offering them short-term rental assistance, security and utility deposits, and moving expenses.

Read the 2012 Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness

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