Recently, HUD released the 2021 Annual Homeless Assessment Report Part 1 to Congress. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, HUD waived the requirement for communities to conduct the count of unsheltered homelessness in 2021, thereby the report only provides national estimates on sheltered homelessness and findings on unsheltered homelessness only from the communities that conducted unsheltered counts. “Sheltered homelessness” refers to people experiencing homelessness who were found in emergency shelters, transitional housing, or other temporary settings.
The report found that:
- More than 326,000 people experienced sheltered homelessness in the United States on a single night in 2021, a decrease of eight percent, from 2020.
- The number of sheltered people in families with children declined considerably between 2020 and 2021, while the number of sheltered individuals remained relatively flat. Between 2020 and 2021, the number of veterans experiencing sheltered homelessness decreased by 10 percent.
The report also highlights changes to the practices of homeless service providers in response to CDC recommendations on COVID-19, which reduced occupancy of most emergency shelters. In some cases, this reduced occupancy was reported through the Housing Inventory Count (HIC), but in other communities it was not. Estimates of the number of people experiencing sheltered homelessness at a point in time in 2021 should be viewed with caution, as the number could be artificially depressed compared with non-pandemic times, reflecting reduced occupancy in some communities or safety concerns regarding staying in shelters.
Report and Resource Links: