On March 18, HUD released its 2020 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report (AHAR). The AHAR is a summary of homelessness estimates based on data from the annual point-in-time (PIT) counts of sheltered and unsheltered people experiencing homelessness, collected by Continuums of Care (CoCs). The PIT counts people experiencing homelessness in sheltered and unsheltered locations, as well as the number of beds available to serve them, on a single night in January 2020. The 396 CoCs (local planning bodies responsible for coordinating homelessness services) contributing to this assessment effectively covered the entire United States. Critical findings from the report include:
- On a single night in January 2020, 580,466 people – about 18 of every 10,000 people in the United States – experienced homelessness across the United States. This represents a 2.2 percent increase from 2019.
- After consistent reductions from 2010 to 2016, homelessness has increased in each of the last four consecutive years.
- 2020 was the first year since 2010 that both veteran and veteran family homelessness did not decline.
- Approximately 30 percent of the homeless population in January 2020 were in families with children and 26 percent of the homeless population were youths under the age of 25.
- People of color are significantly over-represented among people experiencing homelessness. Despite composing 12 percent of the population, almost 40 percent of people experiencing homelessness in January 2020 were Black or African American. Though 16 percent of the population, nearly a quarter of all people experiencing homelessness were Hispanic or Latino. Together, American Indian, Alaska Native, Pacific Islander and Native Hawaiian populations account for 1 percent of the U.S. population, but 5 percent of the homeless population.
With the release of the report, HUD Secretary Marcia L. Fudge remarked, “The findings of the 2020 AHAR Part 1 Report are very troubling, even before you consider what COVID-19 has done to make the homelessness crisis worse. Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, we are once again putting Housing First to end this crisis and build strong, healthy communities, as reflected in the American Rescue Plan. I look forward to working with President Biden to implement this historic package to deliver robust, equitable relief to those experiencing homelessness. Housing should be a right, not a privilege, and ensuring that every American has a safe, stable home is a national imperative.”