Last week HUD released the 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) Part 2. This report furthers our understanding of homelessness in our country by looking at the number of people in shelters over the course of a full year and providing in-depth information about their characteristics and use of the homeless services system.
In 2018, HUD shifted its data collection platform to the Longitudinal Systems Analysis (LSA), which collects more detailed information on the characteristics of and system use by people experiencing homelessness. While this shift provides exciting new opportunities, the entirely new methodology used to produce the report this year means that estimates in this report cannot be compared to those from prior years.
In 2018, 1,446,000 people experienced homelessness at some time during the year.
- Two-thirds of people experiencing homelessness were in households with only adults present (935,000 people)
- 35 percent were people in families with children (501,000 people)
For the first time, HUD is also able to provide these year-long estimates for unaccompanied youth and for people with chronic patterns of homelessness. In 2018, approximately:
- 113,000 unaccompanied youth used a shelter program
- 194,000 people who used shelter programs had chronic patterns of homelessness
This is critical information for helping HUD and communities better understand who uses shelter programs.
Another new feature of the improved data collection process is that we can better identify people who are experiencing homelessness for the first time. This information, which will be used more extensively in future reports, will be critical for understanding inflow into homelessness. To end homelessness, we must prevent people from falling into homelessness, as well as helping people make that experience as brief as possible.
The 2018 AHAR Part 2 report puts the estimates of people experiencing homelessness in the broader context of renters with fragile housing situations, reporting some key findings from HUD’s latest Worst Case Housing Needs report and relating them to patterns of homelessness. By understanding the full nature of the problem, we will be in a better position to solve it.
HUD and its federal partners will continue to support the efforts of local communities across the nation to end homelessness experienced by families with children, by adults who are homeless on their own, and by unaccompanied youth, veterans, and people who have chronic patterns of homelessness. This report provides insights into patterns of homelessness for each of these groups.
With effective partnerships, both locally and federally, we can give all individuals and families the right type and level of support to move out of homelessness and into a better life.