WASHINGTON – Homelessness continues to decline in the U.S, specifically among families with children, Veterans, and individuals with long-term disabling conditions according to the latest national estimate by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD’s 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress found that 549,928 persons experienced homelessness on a single night in 2016, a decline of 14 percent since 2010, the year the Obama Administration launched Opening Doors, the nation’s first comprehensive strategy to prevent and end homelessness.
Over this seven-year period, HUD estimates the nation experienced a 23 percent reduction among homeless families, a 47 percent drop in Veteran homelessness, and a 27 percent decline in individuals experiencing chronic homelessness. This 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” and 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.
In making the announcement, HUD Secretary Julián Castro noted that though the nation is making significant progress in reducing homelessness, the number of ‘doubled up’ or rent-burdened families remains a vexing problem.
“Every person deserves a safe, stable place to call home,” said Secretary Castro. “The Obama Administration has made unprecedented progress toward ending homelessness and today marks the seventh straight year of measureable progress. While we know that our work is far from finished, it’s clear we’re on the right track to prevent and end homelessness for good.”
“While our continued progress reinforces that we are on the right path, the data also makes clear that we must increase the pace of that progress,” said Matthew Doherty, Executive Director of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness. “To do so, we must be unwavering in our commitment to strategies and investments that are working. Our communities and our citizens deserve nothing less.”
During one night in late January of 2016, tens of thousands of volunteers across the nation sought to identify individuals and families living on their streets as well as in emergency shelters and transitional housing programs. 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.