Homelessness In West Virginia Down In 2018

WEST VIRGINIA – Local communities throughout West Virginia report homelessness declined 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 1,243 West Virginians experienced homelessness on a single night in 2018, a decrease of 5 percent since last year. Meanwhile, homelessness among veterans fell 4.3 percent and homelessness experienced by families with children decreased 23 percent statewide since 2017.

As in previous years, there is significant local variation in the data reported from different parts of the country. 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.

“Our state and local partners are increasingly focused on finding lasting solutions to homelessness even as they struggle against the headwinds of rising rents,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “Much progress is being made and much work remains to be done but I have great hope that communities all across our nation are intent on preventing and ending homelessness.”

“Homelessness is steadily declining in the state of West Virginia, with an overall decrease of 5 percent since last year to a significant 77 percent drop among veterans since 2010,” said Joe DeFelice, Regional Administrator of HUD’s Mid-Atlantic region. “Thank you to the local communities who are doing amazing work in getting individuals and families off the streets and into permanent supportive 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.

Key Findings of HUD’s 2018 Annual Homeless Assessment Report

On a single night in January 2018, state and local planning agencies (Continuums of Care) reported:

  • 1,243 people were homeless representing an overall 5 percent decline from 2017 and a 45 percent decrease since 2010.
  • Most homeless persons (1,060) were sheltered while 183 persons were located in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs.
  • The number of families with children experiencing homelessness decreased 23 percent since 2017.
  • On a single night in January 2018, 131 veterans experienced homelessness, a decrease of 4.3 percent (or 6 persons) since January 2017. Since 2010, veteran homelessness in West Virginia has declined by 77.2 percent.
  • Chronic or long-term homelessness among individuals decreased 25.2 percent (or 52 persons) over 2017 levels.

Family Homelessness
HUD’s latest national estimate notes a continuing decline in family homelessness in the U.S.  In January of 2018, here were 56,342 family households with children experiencing homelessness, a 29 percent decline since 2010.  These declines are largely a consequence of HUD’s policy shift from supporting higher cost transitional housing to rapid rehousing programs across the country.  Following HUD’s guidance and best practices, local planners are increasingly using rapid rehousing to move families into permanent housing more quickly and at lower cost.  Communities are also implementing more prevention activities to help families avoid needing shelter as well as more robust coordinated entry efforts. Taken together, these ‘Housing First’ models have proven to be a more effective and efficient response to help families experiencing temporary crisis as well as those enduring the most chronic forms of homelessness.

Veteran Homelessness

Veteran homelessness in the U.S. is nearly half of what was reported in 2010, largely as the result of intense planning and targeted interventions, including the close collaboration between HUD and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Both agencies jointly administer the HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program, which combines permanent HUD rental assistance with case management and clinical services provided by the VA. Last year alone, more than 4,000 veterans, many experiencing chronic forms of homelessness, found permanent housing and critically needed support services through the HUD-VASH program. An additional 50,000 veterans found permanent housing and supportive services through VA’s continuum of homeless programs.

Read more about state/local-level homelessness.

Sponsored Content
Tyler Barker is currently the News Director and Digital Content Manager for WOAY-TV. He was promoted to this job in Mid-November. He still will fill in on weather from time to time. You can follow Tyler on Facebook and Twitter @wxtylerb. Have any news tips or weather questions? Email him at tbarker@woay.com