Each January, our Office to Prevent and End Homelessness partners with several nonprofits to conduct an annual Point-in-Time Count of individuals experiencing homelessness throughout the county. This year, the count showed a 10% increase in the overall number of people experiencing homelessness as of Jan. 25.
Why did the number go up?
The number of people in families with children experiencing homelessness increased by 33% (188 people) between 2022 and 2023. This increase is primarily attributed to the multiple negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on families in terms of health, employment and inflationary costs, especially for housing.
It is worth noting that the number of single adults experiencing homelessness decreased by 11% (71 people) during the same time.
“The annual point in time count helps us understand the scale of homelessness in our community and motivates our community partnership to take urgent action,” notes Tom Barnett, deputy director. “With this vital information, we can unite our efforts and resources to create meaningful change, ultimately uplifting the lives of our neighbors in need.”
KEY FINDINGS FROM THE 2023 COUNT
- 1,310 people experiencing homelessness in Fairfax County – an increase of 10% (119 people).
- The number of single adults experiencing homelessness decreased by 11% (71 people).
- Results showed that there were 257 adults identified as experiencing chronic homelessness (30% of total adults counted).
- Results indicated that 87 households identified themselves as currently fleeing domestic violence and 229 households reported a history of domestic violence (30% of total households counted).
- The most significant disparity in the demographics of those experiencing homelessness on the night of the 2023 Point-in-Time Count remains the disproportionate representation of people identifying as Black or African American. While 10.8% of the general population in Fairfax County is estimated to identify as Black or African American, 48% of people experiencing homelessness on the night of the count identified as Black or African American. The imbalance slightly improved from the 2022 count, when 50% of people identified as Black or African American.
PROGRAMS/SHELTERS FOR INDIVIDUALS EXPERIENCING HOMELESSNESS
Fairfax County is home to 11 emergency shelters, which are operated by nonprofit organizations year-round with seasonal and other limited overflow capacity. There also are six transitional housing programs serving special populations, including victims of domestic violence and transition-aged youth ages 18 to 24. In addition to providing shelter assistance, the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Partnership to Prevent and End Homelessness provides a variety of homeless service interventions to achieve the goal of ensuring homelessness is brief, rare and one time.
ABOUT THE ANNUAL COUNT
The annual Point-in-Time Count includes individuals in emergency shelters and transitional housing as well as individuals experiencing unsheltered homelessness. The annual count is required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to help policymakers and program administrators track progress toward the goal of ending homelessness. At the local level, the count identifies strengths and gaps in the homeless services system.