Officially released at the National Press Club with Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, D-MO, the report analyzes national as well as state-by-state trends and the economic, housing, and demographic factors that impact homelessness.
In spite of declines in incomes and affordable housing, federal investments in smart strategies have led to significant declines in chronic and veteran homelessness.
However, worsening economic and housing indicators threaten progress. And recent budget cuts could mean less investment in solutions that have led to declines in homelessness, like permanent supportive housing for chronically homeless individuals and homeless assistance funding for communities.
From 2011 to 2012, the nation’s homeless population decreased by 0.4 percent or about 2,235 people. At a point in time in January 2012, 633,782 people were experiencing homelessness. There was a decrease in all homeless subpopulations with the exception of persons in families.
In NJ homelessness fell by 7.9% although chronic homelessness increased by 17.5%. Veteran’s homelessness fell by 27%.
Among the overall findings:
The largest decreases were 6.8 percent among individuals identified as chronically homeless and 7.2 percent among veterans.
The national rate of homelessness was 20 homeless people per 10,000 people in the general population. The rate for veterans was 29 homeless veterans per 10,000 veterans in the general population.
A majority of people identified as homeless were staying in emergency shelters or transitional housing, but 38 percent were unsheltered, living on the streets, or in cars, abandoned buildings, or other places not intended for human habitation. The size of the unsheltered population remained basically unchanged between 2011 and 2012.
There was no change in the number of homeless family households, however the size of the average homeless family grew so the overall number of people in homeless families increased 1.4 percent.
While the overall homeless population decreased between 2011 and 2012 nationally, 28 states and the District of Columbia saw increases.