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New Report on Homelessness in the U.S. Shows Progress among Veterans; Increase in Number of Homeless People

In 2014, an estimated 1.49 million people used a homeless shelter program at some point during the reporting year, a 4.6 percent increase since 2013.  And while the United States continues to make progress in meeting its goal of ending veteran homelessness, homelessness among families with children increased by 4.4 percent between 2013 and 2014. 
These key findings are from the second part of The 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress (AHAR), based on annual Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS) data that are collected throughout a 12-month period. The AHAR is a two-part report produced annually by Abt Global in partnership with the University of Pennsylvania for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.  
According to the report, the number of homeless Veterans in the U.S. declined by 8,160 people between 2013 and 2014, while the number of people in families with children using shelters increased by 21,702 people during that same period in time.
“The downward trend in homeless veterans in the U.S. shows the real progress being made in addressing this vulnerable population,” said Dr. Claudia Solari, an associate at Abt and lead author of the report.  “But more work needs to be done.  The AHAR provides vital information to help decision-makers as we continue the battle to end homelessness for all.”
Other key findings include:
  • In 2014, an estimated 1.49 million people used a shelter program at some point during the reporting year, a 4.6 percent increase since 2013. This marked the first year sheltered homelessness has grown in the U.S. since 2010.
  • Between 2007 and 2014, the number of adults entering shelter after staying on the street or in other places not meant for human habitation increased by 48.3 percent.
  • In 2014, adults with disabilities were almost 4 times more likely to be homeless in shelter than adults without disabilities.
  • In 2014, about half of children in families using shelter programs were under the age of 6.
Part two of AHAR estimates the number of people and families (including families with children, individuals, and Veterans) who become homeless over the course of a year, and studies their patterns of use of the homeless services system.  Part one of the report provides Point-in- Time (PIT) estimates, offering a snapshot of homelessness—of both sheltered and unsheltered homeless populations—on a single night. The one-night counts are conducted in late January of each year.
Read The 2014 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, Part 2.
Read about a report prepared by Abt Global on the Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF) program, which helps homeless veteran households obtain permanent housing and aids at-risk veteran households with staying housed and avoiding homelessness.
Read about the Family Options Study, a groundbreaking report prepared by Abt which explores the best ways to help the more than 150,000 families in the U.S. who experience homelessness each year, and are forced to seek emergency shelter or face life on the streets.
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