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The 2021 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress: Pt. 1 2021 Point-in-Time Estimates of Sheltered Homelessness

Meghan Henry, Tanya de Sousa, Colette Tano, Nathaniel Dick, Rhaia Hull, Meghan Shea, Tori Morris, and Sean Morris


February 4, 2022

Each year, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) releases its Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress. The report provides the critical benchmark on the number of people known to be experiencing homelessness on a single night.

The 2021 report indicated that funding provided through the CARES Act for emergency rental assistance and other homelessness prevention, as well as nationwide eviction moratoria, helped keep more people—in particular families—out of shelters. Abt Global’s analysis includes an examination of unsheltered people from the small number of communities that did conduct a count, though it is not representative of the entire country.

Key findings from the 2021 report include:

  • On a single night in 2021, more than 326,000 people were experiencing sheltered homelessness in the United States. This number is an 8 percent decrease from 2020.
  • The number of sheltered people in families with children declined considerably between 2020 and 2021, while the number of sheltered individuals remained relatively flat.
  • In 2021, just over 131,000 families with children were experiencing sheltered homelessness, a decline of 15 percent since 2020. This was a much larger change than in the number of sheltered individuals, which dropped by only 2 percent, to 236,500 people in 2021.  
  • The declines are likely due to a combination of several factors, but information provided by communities revealed that a critical factor in reducing the sheltered count was likely the eviction moratoria and CARES Act and other funding that helped to prevent people from becoming homeless during the pandemic.

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