Using ArcGIS to Address Homelessness Webinar: Reminder to Register

On Monday, October 22, 2018 from 2:00 to 3:00 PM EDT, HUD will be hosting a webinar with Esri to discuss their ArcGIS tools communities can use to address homelessness. These tools include maps and mobile applications that help agencies, service providers, and Continuums of Care (CoCs):
  1. Conduct homeless Point-in-Time (PIT) counts
  2. Inventory homeless services
  3. Report homeless activity
  4. Analyze factors related to homelessness
These tools are designed to work together as one integrated system that supports the community’s overall efforts to assist people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Nearly every county in the United States already pays for ArcGIS tools. These resources are highlighted in a new Using ArcGIS to Reduce Homelessness document, which also outlines how communities can find out who in their community currently pays for Esri resources. The webinar will provide a more in-depth discussion of the resources, including how communities have already used them to address homelessness. Register today to participate in this webinar.
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Sleeping is not a crime

Last month, a federal court ruled that people experiencing homelessness cannot be punished for sleeping outside in the absence of adequate alternatives. The court found that enforcing outdoor sleeping bans violates the Cruel and Unusual Punishments Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The ruling explains, "as long as there is no option of sleeping indoors, the government cannot criminalize indigent, homeless people for sleeping outdoors, on public property, on the false premise they had a choice in the matter."

The court specified that not only must a bed be available, but it must be practically accessible — without religious or length-of-stay restrictions that could make it inaccessible to a given individual.

While this ruling specifically affects the 9th Circuit (which covers nine states, including California) it establishes an important legal precedent for the nation. And it reinforces what homeless service providers have known for a long time: The solution to homelessness is housing. It can't be solved with arrests, bans, or even just shelter alone.

This ruling is an opportunity for housing providers to demonstrate to their communities that homelessness is best addressed with low-barrier shelter, access to permanent housing, and connection to supportive services.

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The Alliance relies on your support to build the knowledge and resources necessary to end homelessness across the country.
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HUD Releases the 2017 AHAR Part 2 with Updated Data on Homelessness

HUD is pleased to announce the release of the 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR) Part 2. This report furthers our understanding of homelessness in our country 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.
HUD has published the AHAR each year since 2007 to give both national- and local-level information needed to track progress toward ending homelessness in the United States. This year’s 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.
HUD and its federal partners will continue to support the efforts of local communities across the nation to end homelessness experienced by families with children, unaccompanied youth, and people who have chronic patterns of homelessness. The report provides insights into patterns of homelessness for each of these groups and helps us track the progress made nationally and by different types of communities. The report also puts the estimates of people experiencing homelessness in the broader context of renters with fragile housing situations, reporting some key findings from HUD’s latest Worst Case Housing Needs report and relating them to patterns of homelessness. By understanding the full nature of the problem, we will be in a better position to solve it.
We need to maintain a strong focus on collecting accurate data that can inform housing interventions and improve the lives of all Americans. This report shows continued progress toward ending homelessness, but also shows more progress is necessary.
While the 2017 AHAR Part 2 reports key findings of interest to national, state, and local stakeholders, it also demonstrates that we are improving our data collection, our understanding of what the data mean, and our willingness to make improvements along the way. These types of ongoing data improvements are important elements in the equation of ending homelessness in our country, once and for all. Working together through effective local and federal partnerships increases the likelihood that all individuals and families receive the right type and level of support to move out of homelessness and into a better life. HUD is committed to continuing its part in this important work until the job is done.
To access the full report, HMIS public use data, and the methodology report, view the 2017 AHAR Part 2 resource page on the HUD Exchange.
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