HUD Archives: News Releases

Lee Jones
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For Release
November 21, 2013

Nationwide HUD estimates 6.1 percent drop in homelessness over same period

ANCHORAGE - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today released its latest national estimate of homelessness, noting reductions in every major category or sub-population since 2010, the year the federal government established a strategic plan to end homelessness. Nationwide, it reports 39,875 or 6.1 percent fewer homeless Americans from 2010 to 2013. HUD's 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress ( finds significant and measureable progress to reduce the scale of long-term or 'chronic' homelessness as well as homelessness experienced by Veterans and families.

Meanwhile, local homeless housing and service providers in Alaska reported that there 83 or 4.5 percent more sheltered and unsheltered persons in 2013 than in 2010.

Homelessness in Alaska





Total # of homeless persons




+4.46 Percent

The total number of homeless individuals and families that Alaska organizations sheltered rose from 1,671 in 2010 to 1,741 in 2013 while the number of homeless veterans fell from 233 to 2010 in 2013.

"We're making real and significant progress to reduce homelessness in this country and now is not the time to retreat from doing what we know works," said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan. "If we're going to end homelessness as we know it, we need a continued bipartisan commitment from Congress to break the cycle trapping our most vulnerable citizens between living in a shelter or a life on the streets. I understand these are tough budget times but these are proven strategies that are making a real difference. We simply can't balance our budget on the backs of those living on the margins."

Bill Block, HUD's Northwest Regional Administrator, added, "Local housing and service providers are on the front lines of helping us battle homelessness and they need our help if we're going to cross the finish line. Not only is there a moral imperative to tackle this problem head on, it makes fiscal sense to invest in solutions that work. but if Congress continues the dramatic cuts to housing supports that we have seen in recent years, these gains may be lost."

Nearly 20 percent of homeless people were counted in either Los Angeles (nine percent of total or 53,798) or New York City (11 percent of total or 64,060). Los Angeles experienced the largest increase among major cities, reporting 11,445 more homeless people (or 27 percent) in 2013 compared to 2012. New York City reported 7,388 more homeless people (or 13 percent).

HUD's annual 'point-in-time' estimates measure the scope of homelessness on a single night in January of each year. Based on data reported by more than 3,000 cities and counties, last January's one-night estimate reveals an eight percent drop in homelessness among veterans and a seven percent reduction among those experiencing long-term or chronic homelessness.

During one night in late January of 2013, local planning organizations or "Continuums of Care" across the nation and in Alaska conducted a one-night count of their sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations. Yearly changes to a state's housing and economic conditions as well as adjustments in local data collection methods can produce significant differences when attempting to compare one year to the next. Still, HUD continues to offer significant guidance and technical support to these Continuums of Care to continually improve the confidence level in these state and local reports as they are incorporated into the annual national homeless estimate.

The Obama Administration's strategic plan to end homelessness is called Opening Doors ( - a roadmap by 19 federal member agencies of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness along with local and state partners in the public and private sectors. The plan puts the country on a path to end veterans and chronic homelessness by 2015; and to ending homelessness among children, families, and youth by 2020. The Plan presents strategies building upon the lesson that mainstream housing, health, education, and human service programs must be fully engaged and coordinated to prevent and end homelessness

The decline in veteran homelessness across the country is largely attributed to the close collaboration between HUD and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on a joint program called HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH). Research demonstrates that for those who have been homeless the longest, often living on our streets for years at a time, permanent supportive housing—housing coupled with supportive services to address mental illness, substance addiction, and other challenges—not only ends homelessness for these vulnerable individuals, but also saves the taxpayer money by interrupting a costly cycle of emergency room visits, detoxes, and even jail terms. Since 2008, a total of 58,250 rental vouchers have been awarded and 43,371 formerly homeless veterans are currently in homes of their own because of HUD-VASH.

Chronic homelessness among individuals is declining and has done so quite substantially since 2007. This decline is partially attributable to a long-standing push to develop more permanent supportive housing opportunities for those struggling with long-term homelessness who otherwise continually cycle from shelters to the streets.

Read HUD's 2013 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress ( including state and community-level data.


HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD is working to strengthen the housing market to bolster the economy and protect consumers; meet the need for quality affordable rental homes: utilize housing as a platform for improving quality of life; build inclusive and sustainable communities free from discrimination; and transform the way HUD does business. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at and You can also follow HUD on Twitter at @HUDnews or on Facebook at, or sign up for news alerts on HUD's News Listserv.


Content Archived: July 20, 2015