Homelessness in Fairfax County Down By Nearly 50 Percent:
On the night of January 24, 2018 there were 987 people who were literally homeless in the Fairfax-Falls Church community. This represents a two percent increase from the number counted in January 2017, or 23 more people. Although there was a slight increase this year, the total remained less than 1,000 and both single individuals and persons in families remained under 500 people. The total decrease in the homeless population from 2008 to 2018 is 46 percent, which represents 848 less people homeless on one night in January 2018 then there were on one night in January 2008. During that time period there was a decline in numbers throughout the homeless system, including in families, children in families, adults in families, single adults, people experiencing chronic homelessness, and families experiencing domestic violence. The overall reduction continues to demonstrate the success of the strategies implemented the past 10 years. These results are reflected in the chart below.
On the night of January 24, 2018:
v There were 987 people who were literally homeless in the Fairfax-Falls Church Community, 488 were people in families and 499 were single individuals.
- The number of people who were literally homeless increased by 2 percent (23 people) from the number counted in January 2017.
- Persons in families increased by 3 percent (14 people) compared to 2017. The number of families increased by 6 percent (8 families).
- Single adults increased by two percent (9 people) compared to 2017.
v Persons in families account for 49 percent of all homeless persons counted, consisting of 151 families with 488 people.
- In 2018 there was increase in families (6) in emergency shelter as well as transitional housing (3) as capacity for people experiencing domestic violence was increased in both types of programs. Families in emergency shelter increased from 86 to 92 and in transitional housing from 56 to 59.
- Sixty-one percent of the families (92) counted were residing in emergency shelter while 39 percent of the families (59) were in transitional housing programs.
- There were no unsheltered families in 2018.
- Thirty percent of all persons (298) who were homeless were children under the age of 18, the same percent as last year.
- Eighty-five percent of the adults (161) in homeless families were female, an increase of 5 percent from 2017.
- Forty-nine percent of adults (93) in homeless families were employed; a decrease from 57 percent in 2017.
- For families whose homelessness was due to domestic violence, the number of families (71) in 2018 increased 18% from the number of families in 2017 (60).
- Sixteen percent of families (24) were considered “youth households”, as all of the family members were under the age of 25 years old. This represented a slight decrease in percentage from last year as the number of youth families remained the same.
- There were two families with a veteran head of household.
- Forty-four percent of single adults (221) who were experiencing homelessness suffered from serious mental illness and/or substance abuse, identical to last year.
- Thirty-four percent (171 people) were experiencing chronic homelessness. This is an increase from last year. This reflects the lack of new Permanent Supportive Housing resources targeted for this population as well as the lack of housing options for those people not yet experiencing chronic homelessness who are becoming chronically homeless.
- There were 86 unsheltered individuals. There were 19 less unsheltered than during the 2017 count. Unsheltered individuals comprised 17 percent of total single adults. A contributing factor for this decrease was the cold weather, as opposed to last year’s unseasonably warm weather on the evening of the PIT, as there was a similar increase in the number of people sheltering in Hypothermia Prevention Programs on the night of the count.
- Seventy-six percent of single individuals were male (377), 24 percent were females (120), one person was transgendered, and one person didn’t identify as male, female or transgendered.
- Twenty-eight percent of single adults (139) were employed; higher than the 23 percent in 2017.
- Six percent of single adults (31) were reported as veterans; similar to last year.
- Two singles were under the age of 18; they resided at the Second Story youth shelter on the night of the PIT count.
- Twenty-nine percent of the single adults (146) were over 55 years of age; a decrease from 32 percent (155) in 2017.
- Ten percent of the single adults (51) were transition aged youth, defined by HUD as between the ages of 18-24 years old. This represented a slight increase from the 2017 numbers of nine percent (46).
v Contributing Factors – Ten Year Decrease:
- Continued implementation of Housing First approach;
- Increased homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing efforts;
- System change away from transitional housing towards permanent housing options;
- Continued development of a unified approach across the homeless services system;
- County-wide contracts with updated and specific goals have contributed to notable systemic changes;
- Additional permanent supportive housing for singles experiencing chronic homelessness was created through new and reallocated HUD Continuum of Care program funding, as well as Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers;
- Prioritizing housing for individuals with the longest history of homelessness and highest vulnerability.
v Contributing Factors – 2018 Increase:
- Addition of emergency shelter and transitional housing capacity for those experiencing domestic violence to meet an identified need;
- Overall dearth of new housing resources specifically for people experiencing homelessness;
- Particular shortage of housing options for those people who are not yet experiencing chronic homelessness who are at risk of becoming chronically homeless;
- Lack of new HUD Homeless Assistance funds;
- Decrease in number of Housing Choice and VASH vouchers available to those experiencing homelessness in our community.
The PIT count was conducted on January 24, 2018 in coordination with the entire Metro DC region. The annual count is conducted consistent with the guidelines from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and covers people who are literally homeless – those who are in shelters, in time-limited transitional housing programs, or unsheltered and living on the street. Conducting the enumeration requires extensive efforts by a wide range of community partners, involving dozens of staff and volunteers from public and private nonprofit organizations that work with people who are homeless in the Fairfax-Falls Church community.
Characteristics for Single Individuals:
Total Number of Single Individuals: 499
Characteristics of Persons in Families:
Number of Families: 151 Total Number of Persons in Families: 488
Adults in Families: 190 Children in Families: 298