This week, Cabinet leaders and federal staff of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness (USICH) helped communities across the country conduct the annual Point-in-Time (PIT) Count, which provides a snapshot of homelessness in America.
The PIT data—published by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) as part of the Annual Homeless Assessment Report—helps the federal government measure national and local trends and target federal funding and resources to better meet local needs. HUD requires Continuums of Care—which coordinate the local homeless response system—to count the number of people experiencing sheltered homelessness on a single day in January every year and to count the number of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness every other year. Many communities, however, opt to collect PIT data on unsheltered homelessness every year.
HUD Deputy Secretary Adrianne Todman visited volunteers in Indianapolis. Veterans Affairs (VA) Secretary Denis McDonough assisted the count in Sacramento, California. USICH Executive Director Jeff Olivet helped kick off the count in Washington, D.C. And USICH senior regional advisors participated in counts in and around Los Angeles, Phoenix, Philadelphia, and Seattle.
“No veteran should be homeless in this country they fought to defend,” said VA Secretary McDonough. “A key part of addressing veteran homelessness is fully understanding the scope of it, and that’s what this effort is all about. We at VA—along with all of our federal government and local partners—will learn from this count and use that information to help build a future where every veteran has the good, safe home that they deserve.”
“The information we gather from the Point-in-Time Count each year is an invaluable resource—we need to know how many people are experiencing homelessness, and who is experiencing homelessness, so we can make informed decisions,” said HUD Deputy Secretary Todman. “Together, with our partners on the ground and leaders across the Biden-Harris administration, we will address the homelessness crisis with the urgency it requires.”
“Data is critical to driving funding and policy decisions, but we must also remember that behind every data point is a human being—human tears, human joys, and human striving,” USICH Director Olivet told volunteers at the D.C. count. “What you are doing tonight matters. What matters even more is what we do together to solve homelessness tomorrow and the next day and the next.”
According to the 2023 count—which was released in December—homelessness rose 12% from January 2022 to January 2023, representing 653,104 people living without a home in the United States. Since January 2023, the Biden-Harris administration has been taking major, unprecedented action to address the homelessness crisis head-on. In 2023 alone, HUD helped more than 424,000 households exit or avoid homelessness, and the VA surpassed its goal to rehouse more than 38,000 veterans experiencing homelessness. HUD invested nearly half a billion dollars last year in first-of-its-kind funding to help communities address unsheltered and rural homelessness. In May, USICH and the White House launched the ALL INside Initiative to work with key mayors to cut red tape and speed up the process of helping people move off the streets and into homes. Thanks in large part to the White House’s Housing Supply Action Plan, the nation laid the groundwork in 2023 for more apartments to be built than any other year on record. And HHS approved more waivers to let states use Medicaid to provide housing and support for people experiencing homelessness.
For more on homelessness data and trends, click here.