Survey Counts Slightly Fewer Homeless People in Region in 2010

Apr 14, 2010

Washington, D.C. – Preliminary results of a recent survey indicate that the National Capital Region’s homeless population decreased by 1.7 percent between 2009 and 2010.  The preliminary results are based on data compiled by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) from the tenth annual point in time enumeration of the region’s homeless persons.  This year’s count was conducted on January 27, 2010.

The 2009 enumeration counted 11,982 homeless persons in the region. In 2010, the survey counted 11,774 homeless persons. While the number of single persons counted as homeless increased slightly, the number of homeless persons in families decreased by 298 people.

“We believe the numbers would have been higher had it not been for stimulus dollars used toward homelessness prevention programs,” said Michael Ferrell, Executive Director of the D.C. Coalition for the Homeless and Chair of COG’s Homeless Services Committee, which gathered the data.  He urged local jurisdictions to identify funds to sustain and increase these programs before the stimulus money expires. 

According to the survey, 40 percent of all homeless adults in families in the region have jobs; while 21 percent of homeless single adults have jobs.  The survey also noted the region has increased its winter/hypothermia bed count by 70% or 868 beds over the last five years.  The region has also increased its permanent supportive housing beds by 55% or 2,490 beds in that same time span.

The figures varied among jurisdictions across the region. The results indicate that Prince William County experienced a 23 percent decrease in its homeless population between 2009 and 2010, the largest decrease in the region, while the District of Columbia, at 5 percent, experienced the region’s largest increase over the same time span.

The annual enumeration is conducted by local area governments and is part of an ongoing effort to monitor and report on the number of people found on the streets, in emergency shelters, in transitional and permanent supportive housing, or otherwise homeless and in need of a safe shelter.  The jurisdictions that participated in the count include the District of Columbia; Frederick County; Montgomery County; Prince George’s County (includes the City of Bowie); Alexandria; Arlington County; Fairfax County (includes Falls Church and the City of Fairfax); Loudoun County; and Prince William County (includes the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park).

A final analysis and full report will be released next month.  The full report will include descriptions of each jurisdiction’s homeless Continuum of Care and more detailed explanations of each jurisdiction’s respective survey results.

To view a powerpoint presentation of preliminary data from across the region, click here.

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