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Friday, April 7, 2017

Fewer people are homeless

A dorm room at the Bailey's Crossroads Community Shelter.
Fairfax County is making significant progress in reducing homelessness. According to the “Point in Time Count” carried out on Jan. 25, there were 964 people who were homeless in Fairfax County and the City of Falls Church. That’s a 47 percent decrease since a point in time count conducted in 2008 and it’s the first time the survey showed less than 1,000 homeless people.

The one-night survey includes people who are in shelters, in time-limited transitional housing programs, or unsheltered and living on the street.

Among the homeless people counted on Jan. 25, 474 were in families, including 286 children, and 490 were single individuals, including 155 people age 55 or older.

Compared to the Point in Time Count in 2016, there were a total of 95 fewer homeless people counted in 2017, Fairfax County reported April 5. The number of children (under age 18) decreased from 341 in 2016 to 286 in 2017. The number of people in families homeless due to domestic violence declined from 87 to 60.

There were increases in some categories, however. The number of single adults considered chronically homeless went from 146 to 150. The number of homeless adults with substance abuse or mental health issues rose from 202 to 216.

The Office to Prevent and End Homelessness credits the overall decrease to a countywide emphasis on homelessness prevention and rapid re-housing, as well as a unified approach to homeless services with the county’s nonprofit and community partners.

Among single individuals identified as homeless on Jan. 25:
  • The majority, 223, were in the 25-34 age category. Three were under 18, 46 were 18-24, 63 were 25-34, and 155 were 55 and over.
  • 361 were male, 128 were female, and one did not clearly identify as either gender.
  • 228 were black, 215 were white, and 47 were Asian/Pacific islander/multiracial.
  • Among those who were unsheltered, 216 had a severe mental illness and/or substance abuse, 114 were employed, 95 had a chronic health condition, 87 had a physical disability, 36 had limited English proficiency, 30 were military veterans, and 19 were formerly in foster care. 
People in families accounted for 49 percent of all homeless persons counted, consisting of 143 families with 474 people. Among homeless families, there were 118 children under age 6 and 91 age 6-11. 

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