On Tuesday, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released the Fifth Quarterly Pulse report – a snapshot of homelessness in eight communities across the country. This latest report covers the time between January to March 2010.
The moral of the story, as conveyed by the current report, is that homelessness is mostly down.
- There was a one percent decrease in the overall shelter count between the fourth and fifth quarters. (All but NYC reported decreases in their local counts.)
- There was a four percent decrease in the number of sheltered persons in families between the fourth and fifth quarters (All but the Richmond, VA community reported decreases in their local family counts.)
- There was a three percent increase in sheltered homeless individuals between the fourth and fifth quarters. (Despite notable decreases in some areas – VA, CT, and KY – increases in other communities, including OH and NYC, contributed to a rise in this number.)
We also noted a couple of economic indicators:
- When comparing January – March 2009 to January – March 2010, seven of the eight sites showed increased joblessness. (LA showed a 0.1 percent improvement in joblessness.)
- Five communities experienced increased joblessness between the fourth and fifth quarters.
- Half of the sites had increased rates of foreclosure activity.
Another point of concern (that’s often reported in news outlets) is the number of newly homeless. In this quarter’s Pulse report, we see that:
- In the eight communities surveyed, the number of newly homeless served decreased by 12 percent as compared to the previous quarter.
- Six sites showed – all but AZ and LA – showed decreases in the number of newly homeless served with OH and NYC leading the pack with 57 percent fewer new clients and 10 percent fewer new clients, respectively.
- About half of new clients were in families, as was the case in the past four quarters. But in a few communities, the proportion largely tilts towards individuals, including DC (80 percent of new clients are individuals), LA (80 percent individuals), and VA (76 percent individuals).
Also of note with this new group: 91 percent of new clients entered an emergency shelter and 31 percent of new clients were children (1 percent of them were unaccompanied youth).
The Pulse report includes the following communities:
Phoenix/Mesa/Maricopa County, AZ
District of Columbia
Frankford, Elizabethtown, KY
New York City
Cleveland/Cuyahoga County, OH
Richmod/Henrico, Chesterfield, Hanover Counties, VA
In the following months, HUD aims to include more communities in the Pulse report and continue to pursue a represent all different types of jurisdictions and geographies. For more information about the Pulse report – and to access the latest report – please visit the HUD Homelessness Research Exchange website.