Homelessness is decreasing across the country according to a report released this month from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The report is based on data from the HUD annual Point-in-Time Count, which counts homeless populations in all 50 states. The counts are done each year in late January during a single night by a local planning bodies called Continuums of Care (CoC) — networks of homeless services providers — that are essentially contracted by HUD for various homeless-related work. There are 414 CoC systems nationwide.
The Mayor’s Office of Supportive Housing is the lead agency in the Philadelphia CoC and is the primary applicant for HUD funding. The PIT Count itself is done by the nonprofit Project HOME in partnership with the city and the help of over 300 volunteers. This year’s count took place on January 22 from 12 am to 3 am. Local data from this count is available here.
The HUD report, titled “The 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress,” found that nearly 580,000 people in the U.S. were homeless in late January: 69 percent were in some kind of housing program and the rest were unsheltered. This number decreased 2 percent (13,344 people) since 2013 and 11 percent since 2007.
In Philadelphia, however, there was slight increase in the number of homeless between 2013 and 2014. The 2013 count found 5,645 homeless, including sheltered and unsheltered adults and children. That number increased to 5,738 in the 2014 count.
The number of unsheltered homeless did decrease significantly from 526 to 361 in 2014. This decrease corresponded with an increase of around the same amount in the number of homeless in emergency shelters.
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