(Washington, DC) – Today, the District’s Department of Human Services (DHS) announced the results of the 2023 Point in Time (PIT) count, the annual census of individuals experiencing homelessness. This year’s count took place on January 25, 2023.
After several consecutive years of declining PIT counts, the 2023 count data showed an overall 11.6% increase from 2022. This includes a 10.2% increase among unaccompanied individuals and a 12.1% increase among families.
Despite the increase, the 2023 count is lower than the count recorded in 2020 which was the last PIT count held prior to the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE). Overall homelessness has decreased nearly 23% since prior to the PHE and family homelessness decreased nearly 50%, showing that the District has emerged from the public health emergency with fewer people experiencing homelessness than going into the public health emergency.
“Our analysis leads to a clear call to action,” said Laura Green Zeilinger, DHS Director. “We are doubling down on reforms underway that build on a resilient, efficient, and effective homelessness response system for families. We have an opportunity to improve our response when single adults first touch the homeless services system. We are making investments in outreach, prevention and diversion services, shelter renovations and supportive services, while maintaining investments in the housing assistance people need to exit homelessness.”
While homelessness among single unaccompanied adults rose, the District was able to drive a 57% increase in the number of exits to permanent housing.
The data also shows the continued success of Homeward DC 2.0, the District of Columbia’s strategic plan to make homelessness rare, brief, and nonrecurring. Although family homelessness has increased, overall family homelessness remains low. The 40-family increase is largely a result of planned strategic investments, including adding services for residents who may otherwise not be visible to the system, such as survivors of domestic violence.
The Community Partnership for the Prevention of Homelessness (TCP) conducted the PIT count on behalf of the District. The count is a requirement for all jurisdictions receiving federal homeless assistance funding. This single-day enumeration of the homeless services continuum of care provides an opportunity to identify gaps in the current portfolio of services and informs future program planning.
Data from the District will be included in a regional analysis and annual report on homelessness by the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Homeless Services Planning and Coordinating Committee, presented to the COG Board of Directors on May 10. Concerned by the lack of regional data available, COG undertook the first effort to produce a Point-in-Time count of homeless adults and children in metropolitan Washington in 2001. More information will be available at mwcog.org/homelessnessreport.