The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released part one of its 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) to Congress. The report found that the number of persons experiencing homelessness in Virginia on a single night in 2020 rose 3 percent, an increase of 174 people from 2019, bringing the total to 5,957.

Local communities in Virginia reported a 5.6 percent decrease in the number of homeless people in families, an 11.6 percent decrease in veteran homelessness, a 5.1 percent decrease in individuals experiencing chronic homelessness and a 9.3 percent decrease in youth homelessness.

Across the nation, 580,466 people experienced homelessness last year on a single night, an increase of 12,751 people, or 2.2 percent, from 2019.

 “The findings of the 2020 AHAR Part 1 Report are very troubling, even before you consider what COVID-19 has done to make the homelessness crisis worse,” said Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia L. Fudge. “Thanks to President Biden’s leadership, we are once again putting Housing First to end this crisis and build strong, healthy communities, as reflected in the American Rescue Plan. I look forward to working with President Biden to implement this historic package to deliver robust, equitable relief to those experiencing homelessness. Housing should be a right, not a privilege, and ensuring that every American has a safe, stable home is a national imperative.”

 HUD releases the Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress in two parts. Part one provides Point-in-Time (PIT) estimates, offering a snapshot of homelessness-both sheltered and unsheltered-on a single night. The one-night PIT counts are conducted during the last 10 days of January each year.

 In 2020, the PIT estimates of people experiencing homelessness in sheltered and unsheltered locations, as well as the number of beds available to serve them, were reported by 396 Continuums of Care (CoC) nationwide. The PIT counts of homelessness and the housing inventory information are based on data from January 2020 and thus do not reflect the health or economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic for levels of homelessness or characteristic of people experiencing homelessness.