Volunteers Needed for National Housing Inventory and Point-in-Time Counts

As the new year quickly approaches, Continuums of Care across the US are prepping for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s annual Housing Inventory and Point-in-Time counts.

During one night in the last 10 days of January, local planners and CoCs will conduct a one-night count of each city’s sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations. According to HUD, these “snapshot” counts are crucial in understanding the scope of homelessness and measuring progress in reducing it. HUD also says that based on data reported by more than 3,000 cities and counties, last January’s estimate of 633,782 people revealed a marginal decline in overall homelessness (-0.4%) along with a seven percent drop in homelessness among veterans and those experiencing long-term or chronic homelessness.

Many cities, such as Nashville, have begun recruiting volunteers for their annual counts.

“We especially need seasoned volunteers to serve as Team Leaders,” says Suzie Tolmie, Homeless Coordinator for Nashville’s Metropolitan Development & Housing Agency. Tolmie says MDHA will conduct its count in the very early morning hours of Wednesday, January 23, 2013, and will have teams counting those sleeping in shelters and those sleeping outdoors.

Tolmie adds that the information gained from this count will build public awareness of homelessness not only in Nashville but across the country as well. The count will document the extent of need as CoCs seek funding for housing and other services while aiding in future planning efforts.

To volunteer for Nashville’s Housing Inventory and Point-in-Time counts or to find your nearest participating Continuum of Care, visit HUD’s map of CoC contacts.

Key Findings of HUD’s estimated count

On a single night in January 2012, local communities or Continuums of Care reported

  • 633,782 people were homeless. This is largely unchanged (-0.4%) from January 2011, and a represents a reduction of 5.7 percent since 2007. Most homeless persons (62 percent) are individuals while 38 percent of homeless persons are in family households.
  • Veteran homelessness fell by 7.2 percent (or 4,876 persons) since January 2011 and by 17.2 percent since January 2009.  On a single night in January 2012, 62,619 veterans were homeless.
  • Persons experiencing long-term or chronic homelessness declined 6.8 percent (or 7,254) from last year and 19.3 percent (or 23,939 persons) since 2007.
  • Homelessness among individuals declined 1.4 percent (or 5,457) from a year ago and 6.8 percent since 2007. Meanwhile, the number of homeless families increased slightly (1.4 %) from last year though declining 3.7 percent since 2007.
  • Street homelessness (the unsheltered homeless population) was unchanged since January 2011 yet declined 13.1 percent (or 36,860 people) since 2007.
  • Five states accounted for nearly half of the nation’s population in 2012: California (20.7 percent), New York 11.0 percent), Florida (8.7 percent), Texas (5.4 percent), and Georgia (3.2 percent).