What the Latest Homelessness Data Tells Us

Exploring the Data: What the 2018 Homelessness Numbers Tell Us

To see how homelessness is changing across the country, the Alliance has been digging into the latest federal data. HUD's Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress (AHAR) provides key insights on areas of progress and evidence of mounting challenges.

Top Takeaways

Alliance expert Joy Moses analyzed the AHAR report — along with the latest research on housing. Here's what we learned:
  1. Communities nationwide have made progress with key populations, including families, veterans, and chronically homeless individuals.
  2. Despite this progress, homeless individuals make up two-thirds of the homeless population.
  3. Lack of affordable housing is a key driver of homelessness.
  4. Successful communities remain focused on implementing best practices and building more effective systems.

Coming Up Short for Individuals

Over the last five years, the number of unsheltered homeless individuals has grown by 18%. But across America, providers only have enough year-round beds to serve 52% of all homeless individuals.

Bed availability varies greatly from one state to the next. A new Alliance resource allows users to view the bed inventories in their state, and see if they have sufficient capacity for their needs.

Read more from Coming Up Short for Individuals: Why Bed Counts Make a Difference

Racial Disparities Persist

The 2018 data tells us something we all should know by now: African Americans are glaringly overrepresented within the homelessness system. As we work to build awareness around this crisis, Alliance expects to explore our own role in addressing racial inequity within the homelessness system.

Read more from Racial Disparities in the Homeless System: Moving Forward

Family Homelessness: Progress and Challenges

Between 2013 and 2018, overall family homelessness went down 21%. Unsheltered family homelessness declined by more than 50%. Still, nearly 5,000 families remain unsheltered.

As communities work to reduce the number of homeless families to zero, this post offers key questions that every community with unsheltered families or shelter waitlists should consider.

Read more from Progress Report: What Does the AHAR Tell Us About Family Homelessness?

The Alliance relies on your support to build the knowledge and resources necessary to end homelessness in America.
Please support our work with a donation.
Donate Today