HUD released the 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress on October 30. The AHAR summarizes estimates of homelessness at the national, state, and Continuum of Care (CoC) level, based on data from the annual Point-in-Time (PIT) counts of sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness on a single night in January. These counts, conducted by local volunteers working with Continuums of Care (CoCs), are a “snapshot” of homelessness. Continuums of Care are local planning bodies responsible for coordinating homelessness services.
Nationally, on the single night in January 2014, 578,424 people experienced homelessness. This is a 2% decline since 2013 and a 10% decline since 2010 when the Obama Administration releasedOpening Doors, its plan to end homelessness. Since 2010, the number of chronically homeless people declined 21%, the number of homeless families declined 11%, and the number of homeless veterans declined 33%.
Between 2013 and 2014, 36 states experienced a decline in homelessness, while 14 states and the District of Columbia experienced an increase. The largest decreases were in Florida (6,320 people) and California (4,600). The largest increases occurred in New York (3,160) followed by Massachusetts (2,208).
Among the 578,424 homeless people in 2014, 31% were unsheltered, meaning they were found living in places not meant for human habitation, such as streets, abandoned buildings, cars, or parks. California had the highest rate of unsheltered homeless people (63%), followed by Nevada (55%) and Florida (52%). Conversely, Rhode Island had the lowest rate of unsheltered homeless (1.7%), followed by Maine (3.5%) and Massachusetts (3.6%).
The report presents recent declines in homelessness in other subpopulations. Veteran homelessness dropped by 10% between 2013 and 2014. Family homelessness dropped 2.7% between 2013 and 2014, which is comparable to the 2% drop for individuals. In 2014, there were 194,302 homeless unaccompanied children and youth under age 25, a 1% decrease from 2013.
Between 2013 and 2014, the number of chronically homeless individuals declined 2.5%, which is attributed to an increase in the number of permanent supportive housing (PSH) beds. Between 2013 and 2014, the inventory of PSH beds grew by 15,984. Chronically homeless people are those experiencing continuous homelessness for at least one year or having at least four episodes of homelessness over three years.
The 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress is available at https://www.hudexchange.info/resources/documents/AHAR-2014-Part1.pdf