The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) today released the 2021 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress (Part 1). Due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, unsheltered Point-in-Time Counts were not possible in several communities in 2021. As a result, this year’s report does not account for an estimated 40 percent of the homeless population that is unsheltered on a given night. Instead, it is focused exclusively on populations experiencing sheltered homelessness. 

Key Reductions

The report shows that on a single night in 2021, more than 326,000 people were experiencing sheltered homelessness in the United States. This represents an eight percent decrease between 2020 and 2021. Among the most noteworthy reductions: 

  • The number of sheltered families with children fell 15 percent compared to 2020. This is likely due to federal relief resources, such as economic impact payments and emergency rental assistance, as well as the federal eviction moratorium and state-level legal aid programs available to households at risk of homelessness. 
  • The number of sheltered individuals dropped by 2 percent. In addition to accessing federal relief funds, many individuals were also supported in non-congregate accommodations.  
  • The number of sheltered veterans fell by 10% compared to 2020. This is likely the result of increased funding for housing and services targeted to veterans. 

Central to these reductions were the heroic innovations made by homeless response systems and providers across the county. By quickly pivoting operations and taking advantage of local and federal resources, the homelessness sector was able to expand the number of non-congregate beds by 134 percent to protect the health and safety of vulnerable populations.  

Read the full article about homelessness in the first year of COVID-19 at The National Alliance to End Homelessness.