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Local communities throughout Colorado report homelessness declined modestly in 2018, according to the latest national estimate by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). HUD’s 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress found that 10,857 Coloradans experienced homelessness on a single night in 2018, a decrease of .8 percent since last year. Meanwhile, homelessness among veterans fell .46 percent and homelessness experienced by families with children declined .3 percent statewide since 2017. 

The estimate is based on a single night in January of last year, and does not reflect changes since. Although additional local information is available from HUD, as the Neighborhood Gazette went to press, it (as well as the annual report) was not available on HUD’s website (www.hud.gov) due to the federal government partial shutdown.

  As in previous years, there is significant local variation in the data reported from different parts of the country, per a Dec. 17 HUD press release. Thirty-one states and the District of Columbia reported decreases in homelessness between 2017 and 2018 while 19 states reported increases in the number of persons experiencing homelessness.

  For example, the City and County of Los Angeles reported a 4.7 percent decrease in overall homelessness since 2017, primarily as a result of intensive street outreach and increased production of supportive housing. Meanwhile, New York City reported a 2.8 increase, principally among families in emergency shelters and transitional housing.

HUD’s national estimate is based upon data reported by approximately 3,000 cities and counties across the nation. Every year on a single night in January, planning agencies called “Continuums of Care,” along with tens of thousands of volunteers, seek to identify the number of individuals and families living in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs and in unsheltered settings. These one-night “snapshot” counts, as well as full-year counts and data from other sources (U.S. Housing Survey, Department of Education), are crucial in understanding the scope of homelessness and measuring progress toward reducing it.

HUD’s latest national estimate notes a continuing decline in family homelessness in the U.S. In January of 2018, there were 56,342 family households with children experiencing homelessness, a 29 percent decline since 2010.