|Charles McNally (212) 542-7647
Olga Alvarez (212) 542-7142
November 19, 2015
2015 POINT-IN-TIME COUNT OF HOMELESS IN NEW YORK STATE UP 9.5 PERCENT
Spike in New York Metro Area To Be Tackled By $3 Billion Commitment by City
NEW YORK - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today released the latest national "point-in-time" count of the country's homeless today. HUD's 2015 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress found an overall 11 percent decline in the number of persons experiencing homelessness since 2010, including a 26 percent drop in the number of persons living on the streets.
The numbers announced today are based on HUD's "point-in-time" (PIT) estimates, a snapshot of homelessness on a single winter night each year. The PIT is one measure among many used by policy-makers and homeless advocates to understand the scale of homelessness across the country.
Outside of the New York Metropolitan Area, communities Upstate recorded an 8 percent decline in the overall homeless count since 2010, the year President Obama launched Opening Doors, the nation's first-ever comprehensive strategy to prevent and end homelessness. In the Metro area - defined as New York City, Long Island, and Westchester and Rockland Counties - the number of homeless persons counted increased by 10.7 percent. This reflects a confluence of challenges facing the nation's largest city and surrounding suburbs: an extreme affordability crisis and an urgent need for additional supportive housing.
Despite these challenges, New York State ranks second nationwide in reducing Veteran homelessness, with a 58.4 percent reduction since 2011, trailing only Louisiana. That success reflects extraordinary results in the New York Metropolitan Area: over 3,100 veterans have been housed in New York City alone over the last four years, driving a 63.4 percent decline in homeless Veterans in New York City, Long Island, Westchester and Rockland Counties. Nationwide, Veteran homelessness has declined 36 percent between 2011 and 2015, the result of both targeted federal resources and the continued efforts of local governments, homeless service providers, and veterans organizations.
"The Obama Administration has made an historic commitment to effectively end homelessness in this nation. Together with our partners across the federal government and communities from coast to coast, we have made tremendous progress toward our ambitious goals. But our work is far from finished. We have to continue making smart investments in the strategies that work so that everyone has a roof over their head," said HUD Secretary Castro.
The spike in the New York Metropolitan Area comes as no surprise to the City of New York, which this week announced a $3 billion funding commitment to build 15,000 units of supportive housing.
"The Point-in-Time count is essential to keep us focused on those areas where we most need to target our efforts and resources to end homelessness," said Holly Leicht, HUD Regional Administrator for New York and New Jersey. "This year's numbers show progress in Upstate New York, and we have a committed partner in the City of New York, which is putting money where its mouth is to tackle homelessness head on."
"Increasing homelessness is an unfortunate product of today's economic realities - rising income inequality, rents rising, and wages remaining flat," said New York City Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris. "The de Blasio administration's multibillion dollar, comprehensive approach to tackle homelessness includes services to prevent homelessness, move those in streets to shelter, and help those in shelter exit to permanent housing."
On a single night in January or February 2015, state and local planning agencies in New York reported the following estimates of homelessness:
- Homelessness declined by 8 percent since 2010 in upstate New York. By contrast the New York Metro Area has seen homelessness increase by over 23,000 since 2010, a 40 percent increase. Statewide over 95 percent of New York's homeless population are in emergency or transitional homeless shelters.
- Homelessness among Veterans fell by over 63 percent in the New York Metropolitan area between 2011 and 2015, and by 4 percent in Upstate New York. Upstate New York also experienced a 13.5 percent decline in Veteran homelessness over the last year.
- Chronic homelessness among individuals declined by 11.4 percent in Upstate New York and increased by 4.8 percent in the New York Metropolitan Area.
- Family homelessness decreased in Upstate New York by 9.6 percent since 2010 but increased in the New York Metropolitan area by 35.8 percent over the same time period.
- In New York City the total homeless population increased to 75,323 with 72,140 in emergency or transitional shelter. This number includes both New York City Department of Homeless Services Shelters and other homeless service shelter providers funded through HUD's Continuum of Care.
Read more on homeless data reported on a state and community level (https://www.hudexchange.info/resource/4832/2015-ahar-part-1-pit-estimates-of-homelessness/).
Since the passage of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act in 1987, HUD has worked with communities to build the capacity of homeless programs across the country. By targeting investments to individuals and families who need assistance most - those living on the streets the longest or with the greatest barriers to housing - HUD is ensuring that its limited resources are used as effectively and efficiently as possible. Despite increased requests in the President's Budget each year, HUD homeless assistance funding has not kept pace with need. This has resulted in an insignificant decrease in the number of persons experiencing chronic homelessness between 2014 and 2015. In the meantime, HUD continues to incentivize communities to target resources, prioritize assistance, and invest in programs with proven track records.
This year, HUD revised its data collection requirements on youth experiencing homelessness, which may result in increased point-in-time counts as communities improve their methodologies. HUD is also working with communities to improve collection to better understand the size and scope of homelessness, including efforts like youth engagement and collaboration with schools and other youth-serving systems. In addition, HUD is in the process of improving and updating its year-long data collection on youth, and now also includes data from the U.S. Department of Education and American Housing Survey in its Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress. While HUD works to better understand how to most effectively count youth and provide critical services, it expects that in many communities counts will show more youth experiencing homelessness because of improved methodology.
Improved data collection is only part of HUD's strategy to end homelessness. Across the nation, communities are implementing systems to quickly and effectively house individuals and families experiencing homelessness in a coordinated way. Working together across agencies, these communities are creating unprecedented partnerships toward achieving the national goal of ending homelessness.
Every year in late January, volunteers across the nation conduct a count of their local sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations. These one-night 'snapshot' counts are then reported to HUD. This data is crucial in understanding the scope of homelessness and measuring progress in reducing it. The point-in-time count only captures those persons sleeping in sheltered and unsheltered locations on the night of the count but is not reflective of who is eligible for HUD's homeless assistance grants programs.
HUD's mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and http://espanol.hud.gov.
You can also connect with HUD on social media and follow Secretary Castro on Twitter and Facebook or sign up for news alerts on HUD's Email List.