During the last 10 years through a collaborative effort by our county government, nonprofits and faith organizations, we have reduced homelessness in Fairfax County by almost 50 percent.
During our annual 2018 Point in Time Count, 987 people were reported as being homeless. During the 2008 Point in Time Count, there were 1,835 people who were reported as experiencing homelessness.
There was a slight increase this year from the 2017 Point in Time Count, which reported 964 people experiencing homelessness.
Here’s what we found this year during the Point in Time Count, which took place in the Fairfax County-Falls Church area on the night of Jan. 24:
- 987 people were reported homeless, including 488 in families and 499 single adults.
- For families who were homeless due to domestic violence, the number of families increased 18 percent, for a total of 71 families in 2018, compared with 60 families in 2017.
- 221 single adults, or 44 percent total, were reported as suffering from serious mental illness and/or substance abuse. This was similar to 2017.
- 146 singles adults were more than 55 years old, a decrease from 155 older adults counted in 2017.
The Point in Time Count is made following federal guidelines 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. Our Point in Time Count was conducted in coordination with the entire Metro Washington, D.C., region; all the local jurisdictions’ counts were done on Jan. 24. More information is available from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
The 2018 numbers from our Office to Prevent and End Homelessness show some slight increases:
|Total Number of Homeless||964||987||+23|
|Children in Families That Are Homeless (Under the Age of 18)||286||298||+12|
|Families Homeless Due to Domestic Violence||60||71||+11|
|Chronic Homeless Among Single Adults||150||171||+21|
|Homeless w/Mental Illness/Substance Abuse Among Single Adults||216||221||+5|
Here are five contributing factors to the increases in 2018 are:
- An increase in emergency shelter and transitional housing in the county for those experiencing domestic violence to meet this identified need.
- A lack of new housing resources continues to be a challenge.
- A shortage of housing options for those people not yet experiencing chronic homelessness who are at risk of becoming chronically homeless.
- A lack of new federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) homeless assistance funds.
- A decrease in the number of federally funded Housing Choice and Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing vouchers available to those experiencing homelessness in our community. These programs are designed to assist low-income families, as well as veterans, with their housing needs.
Listen to Dean Klein, director of the Office to Prevent and End Homelessness discuss the Point in Time Count and the reduction in homelessness during the last 10 years.
Why have our numbers decreased by nearly 50 percent in the last decade? Contributing reasons include a countywide emphasis on homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing, as well as a unified approach to homeless services with the county’s nonprofit and community partners, according to Klein.
The Office to Prevent and End Homelessness will publish a report in fall 2018 on the county’s 10-year plan to end homelessness and strategies to continue working toward that goal in the coming years.