Fairfax County Homeless Count
by David Levine, President and CEO
The County’s Office to Prevent and End Homelessness (OPEH) released its 2016 Homeless Count this month. On the night of January 28, 2016 — a week after the massive snow event in the region — OPEH counted 1,059 people who were literally homeless, 145 fewer persons from 2015, or a 12% reduction.
Also known as the nationwide HUD-designated “Point-in-time Count,” this intensive survey of the unsheltered and homeless in the County has pointed to a couple of very positive trends. Among others, since 2008, there has been a 42 percent decline in the homeless population in the County, representing 776 fewer persons.
You can read all the details by clicking here: 2016 Homeless Count.
Another positive report was the reduction in the number of families experiencing homelessness. Year over year, the number of homeless families decreased by 16 percent (34 families), or 138 fewer persons in these families. The key reason for the reduction in family homelessness was the 33 percent decline of families in emergency shelters. On the night of the Count, vacancies were reported in emergency shelters, including domestic violence shelters.
The excess capacity in the family shelters truly points to success. The homeless system appears to be responding well to the housing needs of homeless families.