- Lower counts attributed, in part, to County programs, including 100 Homes effort
- Individual count down 34%, chronically homeless down 52%
- Family count down 46%
ARLINGTON — Arlington County’s 2014 point-in-time count showed a significant reduction in the number of homeless people in the County. There was a 39% overall reduction in the count, which was conducted from sundown January 29 to sunup January 30.
- The number of homeless individuals dropped 34% compared to 2013, from 268 to 178. Homeless individuals are single adults, without children, who either are living on the streets, in the County’s Emergency Winter Shelter or in the Residential Program Center.
- The number of homeless people in families technically dropped 46%, from 211 to 113. However, a transitional housing category counted as homeless in prior years was counted as housed for 2014. The drop is a product of a new counting methodology and does not necessarily represent a decreased number of vulnerable families within the community.
- The number of chronically homeless dropped 52%, from 156 in 2013 to 74 in 2014.
“The point-in-time count is one of several important indicators we use to gauge progress in the effort to prevent and end homelessness in our community,” said County Board Chair Jay Fisette. “These numbers are encouraging. They substantiate what we are seeing every day across our programs. The 100 Homes Campaign is closing in on housing the 100 most vulnerable homeless individuals in our community.”
The County’s efforts to fight homelessness have been aided by a better partnership with the Veterans Administration to get homeless veterans off the streets, out of shelters and into housing, Fisette said. In addition, the County’s supportive housing programs continue to help those who battle homelessness because of mental health and substance abuse issues, and the County’s efforts to prevent homelessness before it occurs have stabilized families and helped them get back on their feet.
“There is still much work to do, but I commend the organizations and individuals who have played a role in this effort,” Fisette said.
The severe cold weather the night of the count may have resulted in a lower count of homeless singles, as they may have moved into temporary housing. Other factors that contributed to the drop in the number of chronically homeless persons, include:
- Successful Permanent Supportive Housing Program: In FY 2013, there were 179 formerly homeless people in Arlington’s three PSH programs, an increase of 32 people (22%) over the number of formerly homeless people in PSH in FY 2012. Many 100 Homes clients now live in PSH.
- Housing Homeless Veterans: Re-focused efforts to house homeless veterans in collaboration with the Veteran Affairs Administration resulting in seven veterans receiving VASH vouchers. Expectations are to house an additional four to five individuals with VASH vouchers over the course of the next six to 12 months. Outreach workers continue to reach out to veterans to link them with employment and other benefits for which they may be eligible.
- 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness: In 2008, Arlington County launched a 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness, with a consortium of more than 100 stakeholders from public, private and faith-based community organizations. The plan’s primary goal is that no individual or family shall lack access to decent, affordable housing. A highlight of the plan is the County’s 100 Homes Campaign, which to date has helped house 73 of the most vulnerable homeless individuals in our community.
Arlington also is creating a comprehensive Homeless Services Center in the Courthouse neighborhood, which will replace the inadequate Emergency Winter Shelter. With its three distinct service areas — shelter, day program and medical respite — the Homeless Services Center will be a critical component of the community’s efforts to end homelessness. The center is expected to open in 2015.