Homelessness Decreased, Especially Among Families with Children, During Area One-Day Count

The number of families with children experiencing homelessness decreased by 52% between the 2020 Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Point-in-Time survey to the 2021 survey. Overall, the number of persons experiencing homelessness in Montgomery County dropped by 14%.

During the point-in-time survey, which was conducted on Jan. 27, county staff, members of several nonprofits who work with the homeless and volunteers walked the streets, counting all the homeless people they came across.  That night, there were 577 persons who were homeless. During the 2020 count, there were 670, according to a news release from the county. The Jan. 27 count is considered a snapshot of the homeless situation.

Since 2017, there has been a 35 percent decrease in the overall number of homeless individuals and a 65 percent decrease in homeless families, according to the release.

“In spite of the pandemic, we have worked hard as a community to continue our commitment to rapidly exiting people from homelessness,” said County Executive Marc Elrich in the release.

“We have maximized federal resources to connect people experiencing homelessness to permanent housing, placing twice as many households in 2020 as were housed in 2019. Our ‘At Home Together’ initiative to end and prevent homelessness for families with children has paid off. The partnership between our County programs and nonprofit partners who work every day of the year to end homelessness is a statement of the values we hold as a community.”

The smallest decrease came in the number of single individuals experiencing homelessness. There was “not a significant decrease” in this group, according to the release.

During 2020, more than 250 individuals were placed in permanent housing, yet the number of people in emergency shelter remained constant. During the pandemic, all winter overflow shelters were open year-round, which resulted in a decrease of 34% in the number of unsheltered residents located in the 2021 count.

The overall number of individuals experiencing homelessness declined by 22% during the last five years. That resulted in a 70% decrease in families seeking emergency shelter and not ending up homeless and a 65% reducting in the overall number of families experiencing homelessness over the last five years.

“As COVID-19 cases among those experiencing homelessness skyrocketed nationally, here in Montgomery County, our providers put themselves on the frontlines to ensure the health and safety of our most vulnerable residents,” said County Councilmember and Lead for Homelessness and Vulnerable Communities Evan Glass. “Housing is a basic human right — and while we have made significant strides in Montgomery County, we can and should always strive to do better to ensure that homelessness is brief, rare and nonrecurring.”

This year, Montgomery County is focusing its efforts on ending homelessness for youth and preventing families from being evicted or ending up homeless.

In the Greater D.C. area, the point-in-time count found 8,309 homeless individuals, which is the fewest since the region began coordinating in 2001 and the third consecutive year that there were fewer than 10,000 persons.

Write a Comment

Related Articles