On December 15, 2023, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released its 2023 Annual Homeless Assessment Report Part I (AHAR). The report shows a 12% increase in the overall number of people in homeless shelters, or people who were in a visibly unsheltered situation, on a single night in January, as compared with the previous year’s HUD data.
Among all populations, the greatest increases were:
- Unaccompanied youth – a 15% increase over the previous year
- Families with children – a 16% increase over the previous year
These increases are all the more concerning because HUD data represent a very small fraction of the number of children, youth, and families who experience homelessness. The takeaway from the HUD data is clear: without urgent action now to remove barriers to existing resources, and to prioritize children, youth, and families for new resources, homelessness will continue to skyrocket for all populations. Learn about critical legislation Congress should pass and take action.
When reviewing the new HUD report and media coverage, it’s important to keep in mind that HUD data does not paint the full picture of homelessness for children, youth and families and really only attempts to capture data of those who access shelters and those experiencing visible homelessness during the night in January. Learn more about the Pitfalls of HUD’s Point-in-Time Count for Children, Youth and Families Experiencing Homelessness.
The bottom line is that if urgent action is not taken now to amend existing programs and policies to remove barriers, and to prioritize children, youth, and families for new resources, homelessness will continue to skyrocket for all populations. There is a strong correlation between childhood and adolescent homelessness and adult homelessness. Thus, ignoring children and youth now is a recipe for continued adult homelessness far into the future.