The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Thursday released its 2020 Annual Homeless Assessment Report Part 1 to Congress. The report found that 580,466 people experienced homelessness in the United States on a single night in 2020, an increase of 12,751 people, or 2.2%, from 2019.
HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge calls the results of the study "startling."
In an address featured on Youtube's HUD channel, Fudge says that as a nation, we have a moral responsibility to end homelessness.
"And we know how to do it," she added. "It has been shown time and again that helping people to exit homelessness quickly through permanent housing without restrictions prevents a return to homelessness."
Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, she said, HUD can get to work administering services that will keep humans housed.
“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,” Fudge said. “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.”
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Denis McDonough expressed "extreme concern" regarding the slight pre-pandemic uptick in Veteran homelessness after significant declines since 2010. “The Biden Administration’s recommitment to Housing First—a proven strategy and dignified way to help Veterans and others achieve stable, permanent housing—will help accelerate progress in preventing and eliminating Veteran homelessness," he said.
HUD releases the Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress (AHAR) in two parts. Part 1 provides Point-in-Time (PIT) estimates, offering a snapshot of homelessness—both sheltered and unsheltered—on a single night. The one-night counts are conducted during the last 10 days of January each year. The PIT counts also provide an estimate of the number of people experiencing homelessness within particular homeless populations such as individuals with chronic patterns of homelessness and veterans experiencing homelessness, according to a press release from HUD.
Findings additionally show that people of color are significantly over-represented among those experiencing homelessness.
Both the former and the new administration have taken steps to keep homeowners and renters in their homes, in the forms of eviction and foreclosure moratoria and forbearance programs for mortgage holders. Several federal departments have issued messages of solidarity and a desire to provide immediate relief to homeowners, support hard-hit communities of color, and provide a centralized resource for housing assistance—the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau houses these resources.