HUD RELEASES 2008 ANNUAL HOMELESS ASSESSMENT REPORT TO CONGRESS; OVER A BILLION DOLLARS IN HOMELESSNESS PREVENTION AND RAPID RE-HOUSING PROGRAM AWARDS ALSO ANNOUNCED
MORE 10 YEAR PLAN COMMUNITIES REPORT DECREASES IN CHRONIC HOMELESSNESS
July 10. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued its 2008 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, a national study that explores changes in homelessness nationwide. HUD’s assessment concludes that while overall homelessness in America held fairly steady from 2007 to 2008, the number of homeless families, particularly those living in suburban and rural areas, increased.
HUD measures homelessness through the Annual Homeless Assessment Report in two ways: Point-In-Time ‘Snapshots’– this data accounts for sheltered and unsheltered homeless persons on a single night, usually at the end of January. Homeless Management Information Systems – this data provides more detailed information on persons who access a shelter over the course of a full year. In the 2008 AHAR, 222 local communities contributed HMIS data to produce national estimates of sheltered homeless. HUD estimates that approximately 1.6 million persons experienced homelessness and found shelter between October 1, 2007 and September 30, 2008. HUD notes that the 2008 Report “is the fourth Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) and the first to provide year-to-year trend information on the prevalence of homelessness nationwide, the demographic characteristics of homeless people, and the way homeless people use the residential services system.”
According to HUD, key findings from this new report include:
In addition to the release of the annual report, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, who was recently elected Chairperson of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, announced that HUD is, for the first time ever, beginning to measure homelessness on a quarterly basis to gain a better understanding of the impact of the current economic crisis on homelessness. “The annual report tells us a great deal but it also begs many questions about how today’s housing crisis and job losses are playing out in our shelters and on our streets,” said Secretary Donovan. “The Administration’s aggressive approach to economic recovery recognizes that during these difficult times, families in certain areas of the country are at extreme risk of falling into homelessness. With our new Quarterly Homeless Pulse Report, we will be able to better understand the impact of the current economic crisis on homelessness across the country.” Read the first “Homelessness Pulse Project” report.