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Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day: December 21, 2022

Press Release Number CB22-SFS.173

“The National Consumer Advisory Board, the National Coalition for the Homeless, and the National Health Care for the Homeless Council encourage our constituents to organize or take part in Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day events on or around December 21st, the first day of winter and the longest night of the year. Learn why we remember this day each year through our HPMD Advocacy Agenda.”

Photo: Homeless person

From the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) press release on February 4, 2022: 

“Key Findings of HUD’s 2021 Annual Homeless Assessment Report Part 1:

  • On a single night in 2021, more than 326,000 people were experiencing sheltered homelessness in the United States. Six in ten were individuals—that is, people in households with only adults or in households with only children. Four in ten were people in families with children.
  • The number of people staying in sheltered locations decreased by eight percent between 2020 and 2021. While this continues a decline that began in 2015, the drop between 2020 and 2021 was steeper than those in recent years.
  • The number of sheltered people in families with children declined considerably between 2020 and 2021, while the number of sheltered individuals remained relatively flat.”

Key Stats

From the 2020 Census: The U.S. Census Bureau does not produce or publish an official count of the population experiencing homelessness, but during the decennial census, we do enumerate people at certain types of facilities that serve the population experiencing homelessness. These facility types include emergency and transitional shelters, soup kitchens, and regularly scheduled food vans. In addition to these service-based facilities, we count people at targeted non-sheltered outdoor locations (e.g., people staying outside in certain pre-identified places like encampments under bridges or in parking lots).

The latest data available for the emergency and transitional shelter population are from the 2010 Census Table PCT20 and 2010 Census Special Report “The Emergency and Transitional Shelter Population: 2010 (C2010SR/02).” The population in other noninstitutional facilities, which includes emergency and transitional shelters and other group quarters type, for 2020 was released earlier this year as part of the Decennial Census P.L. 94-171 Redistricting Data (see Table 1 below). Additional data for the population in transitional and emergency shelters will be part of the 2020 Demographic and Housing Characteristics File (DHC), which is forthcoming.

Note: Other noninstitutional facilities’ population — highlighted in the table above — increased 20.3% to 1,365,146, but this number represents both people in serviced-based group quarters and other group quarters (GQ). Other noninstitutional facilities consists of a diverse set of GQ types, including emergency and transitional shelters for people experiencing homelessness, soup kitchens that offer meals to people experiencing homelessness, targeted nonsheltered outdoor locations, group homes intended for adults, residential treatment centers for adults, and workers group living quarters and job corps centers.

Note: Service-Based Enumeration: We worked with service providers at soup kitchens, shelters, and regularly scheduled food vans to count the people they serve. Planned Schedule: March 30 – April 1, 2020. Revised Schedule: September 22 – September 24, 2020.

More Stats

From the Library

From the Newsroom:

Note: Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Census Bureau adjusted 2020 Census operations.

Outside Links

Note: HUD releases the Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress in two parts. Part 1 provides Point-in-Time estimates of homelessness, offering a snapshot of homelessness on a single night in late January of each year. The above exhibit is on page 6 of the 2020 AHAR to Congress.

Page Last Revised - December 9, 2022
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