Washington, D.C. – The homeless population in metropolitan Washington remained essentially unchanged from last year, dropping by 49 persons from 11,879 in 2011 to 11,830 in 2012, according to a new report, Homeless in Metropolitan Washington.
The report, which contains the results of the annual count of the region’s homeless population as wells as an analysis of each jurisdiction, was released today at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Board of Directors’ monthly meeting.
Michael Ferrell, Executive Director of the D.C. Coalition for the Homeless and Chair of COG’s Homeless Services Planning and Coordinating Committee, which compiles data from the count, noted that the continued increase in the number of formerly homeless people now residing in permanent supportive housing is the main reason that the region’s homeless population has only increased by one percent over the past five years despite the economic recession.
The number of formerly homeless people now in permanent supportive housing has nearly doubled over that period, growing from 4,395 in 2008 to 8,657 in 2012. “This increase has enabled us to keep the overall number of homeless people from substantially increasing in metropolitan Washington,” Ferrell said.
Data from the count found that the changes among jurisdictions from 2011 to 2012 ranged from a 17 percent decrease in homeless persons in Prince George’s and Prince William Counties to a five and six percent increase in Loudoun County and the District of Columbia, respectively. The report also shows that 40 percent of all homeless adults in families and 17 percent of homeless single individuals are employed.
In 2012, children and youth represent 29 percent of the region’s homeless population, a two percent increase from 2011. Additionally, children and youth represent 60 percent of all people in families that are homeless, a one percent increase from 2011.
The annual count is conducted by area governments and homeless service providers as 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.
A few Board members raised concerns that the methodology for conducting the count, as prescribed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), is not comprehensive enough. The COG Homeless Services Planning and Coordinating Committee will contact HUD officials to discuss a broader measure of homelessness.
This year’s count was held on January 25, 2012. The jurisdictions that participated in the count include the District of Columbia, Frederick County, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County in Maryland, and the City of Alexandria, Arlington County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, and Prince William County in Virginia.
To view/download the report, click here.