The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has released the 2017 Annual Homelessness Assessment Report (AHAR) Part 2, which provides further information on homelessness in the U.S. by looking at the number of people in shelters over the course of a full year and providing in-depth information about their characteristics and use of the homeless services system.

The report shows a modest decline in the number of people who experienced sheltered homelessness over the course of federal fiscal year (FFY) 2017 as compared to people who experienced sheltered homelessness in FFY 2016. There are 10.8 percent fewer people experiencing sheltered homelessness nationwide during FFY 2017 than in FFY 2007.

This downward trend has been particularly striking for veteran populations, a testament to the impactful partnership between HUD and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Compared to FFY 2009, when HUD began collecting information on this population, 20.9 percent fewer veterans experienced homelessness nationwide during FFY 2017; which means 31,000 fewer veterans were without a home. The report shows a 5.1 percent decline in veteran homelessness just between FFY 2016 and FFY 2017. HUD and VA will continue these efforts until all people who have served our country have a place to call home.

Other findings from the report include:
One-Night Estimates
  • 40,020 veterans were experiencing homelessness in the United States, representing 9.1 percent of all adults experiencing homelessness.
  • 61.7 percent of veterans experienced homelessness in sheltered locations (24,690 veterans), and 38.3 percent were in unsheltered locations (15,330 veterans).
  • The number of veterans experiencing homelessness dropped 45.5 percent between 2009 and 2017. However, the number of homeless veterans increased for the first time between 2016 and 2017, reflecting an increase in unsheltered veterans - particularly in the West. California and Washington experienced the largest one-year increases in unsheltered veterans (with 2,021 and 514 more unsheltered veterans).
  • The number of sheltered veterans declined by 6.5 percent between 2016 and 2017, offsetting some of the increases in the unsheltered population.

One-Year Estimates
  • An estimated 118,380 veterans used an emergency shelter or transitional housing program at some point between Oct. 1, 2016 and Sept. 30, 2017.
  • Between 2009 and 2017, the number of veterans experiencing sheltered homelessness has declined 20.9 percent (31,255 fewer veterans).
  • Among all veterans in the U.S., 1 in 184 experienced sheltered homelessness at some point during 2017.
  • Veterans experiencing sheltered homelessness were older in 2017 than they were in 2009. The share of veterans who were elderly more than doubled between 2009 and 2017, from 8.7 percent to 19.2 percent. This outpaced the increase in the share of all U.S. veterans who were elderly, which grew from 47.7 percent to 54.9 percent. Elderly veterans are the only group with an increase in the number experiencing homelessness between 2009 and 2017 (9,677 more veterans).
  • Veterans experiencing sheltered homelessness in 2017 were much less likely to be white and not Hispanic than were all U.S. veterans (43.8% versus 78.1%). Veterans identifying as black or African-American were over-represented among veterans experiencing sheltered homelessness, 37.9 percent of veterans experiencing sheltered homelessness compared to 11.5 percent of all US veterans.
  • In 2017, compared with all U.S. veterans, veterans experiencing sheltered homelessness were more than twice as likely to have a disability (59.4% versus 28.8%).
  • Between 2016 and 2017, the number of veterans experiencing sheltered homelessness in principal cities declined 8.2 percent (7,634 fewer veterans), while the number in suburban and rural areas grew by 4.1 percent.

"The HUD AHAR Part 2 provides important data and insights that can improve the effectiveness of our shared efforts to end veteran homelessness," said Kathryn Monet, NCHV CEO. "We know providers in communities across the country are doing great work to drive some of the positive results we saw in 2017. NCHV will continue to use this, and other data, to equip service providers to address existing and emerging challenges among key groups of veterans facing housing instability."

This report precedes the 2018 AHAR Point in Time report, expected in the coming weeks. View the full report here for data on gender and ethnicity, geography, length of stay, and other characteristics.