The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released its 2019 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress. The report certified last month by HUD Secretary Ben Carson, found that 567,715 persons experienced homelessness on a single night in 2019, an increase of 14,885 people since 2018. Meanwhile, homelessness among veterans and families with children continued to fall, declining 2.1 percent and 4.8 percent, respectively, in 2019.
There is significant local variation reported from different parts of the country. Twenty-nine states and the District of Columbia reported declines in homelessness between 2018 and 2019, while 21 states reported increases in the number of persons experiencing homelessness. Homelessness in California increased by 21,306 people, or 16.4 percent, which is more than the total national increase of every other state combined.
“The Trump Administration is committed to working with local communities to find effective ways to end homelessness,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “HUD will continue these efforts to help end the suffering of our most vulnerable neighbors in the most compassionate way possible.” “As we look across our nation, we see great progress, but we’re also seeing a continued increase in street homelessness along our West Coast where the cost of housing is extremely high,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “In fact, homelessness in California is at a crisis level and needs to be addressed by local and state leaders with crisis-like urgency. Addressing these challenges will require a broader, community-wide response that engages every level of government to compassionately house our most vulnerable fellow citizens.”
“HUD has been laser focused on best practices to end homelessness as we know it today,” said Joseph P. Galvan, HUD Midwest Regional Administrator. “We will continue to work tirelessly with our partners to shift the homelessness paradigm, reduce recidivism and continue to support rapid re-housing and permanent supportive housing opportunities.”
HUD’s national estimate is based upon data reported by approximately 3,000 cities and counties across the nation. Every year on a single night in January, planning agencies called “Continuums of Care,” (COC) along with tens of thousands of volunteers, seek to identify the number of individuals and families living in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs, and in unsheltered settings. These one-night ‘snapshot’ counts, as well as full-year counts and data from other sources (U.S. Housing Survey, Department of Education), are crucial in understanding the scope of homelessness and measuring progress toward reducing it.