Report to Congress: Homelessness on the Rise

On December 17th The United States Department of Housing and Urban Development released its annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress. The report is released in two parts.


Part 1 provides Point-in-Time (PIT) estimates, offering a snapshot of homelessness—both sheltered and unsheltered— on a single night. The one-night counts are conducted during the last 10 days of January each year. The PIT counts also provide an estimate of the number of people experiencing homelessness within particular homeless populations, such as people with chronic patterns of homelessness and veterans experiencing homelessness.


Part 2 provides counts of beds in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs, safe havens, rapid rehousing programs, permanent supportive housing programs, and other permanent housing in order to understand capacity to serve people who are currently or formerly experiencing homelessness.


Here are the key findings as they relate to Massachusetts:


-The number of people experiencing homelessness increased in 19 states between 2017 and 2018. Massachusetts had the largest absolute increase (2,503 more people). Between 2007 and 2018, only one state has had a larger increase than Massachusetts in the number of people experiencing homelessness (4,941 more people or 33%).


-Massachusetts is one of four states that sheltered at least 95% of people experiencing homelessness.


-More than half of the nation’s homeless people in families with children were in four states: New York, California (12% 20,964 people), Massachusetts (7% or 13,257 people), and Florida (5% or 9,587 people).   


-New York and Massachusetts also had very high rates of homelessness among families. In 2018, 57 out of every 10,000 people in New York and 44 out of every 10,000 people in Massachusetts experienced homelessness. From


- Homelessness among people in families with children increased in 12 states between 2017 and 2018. The largest increase was in Massachusetts (17% or 1,959 more people in families with children). This represents a 94% increase since 2007 (6,422 more people).


-The number of veterans experiencing homelessness increased in 18 states. The largest absolute increase was in Massachusetts (132 more veterans).