Homelessness increases in Colorado

STATEWIDE — Homelessness crept up in Colorado according to the latest national estimate by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). 

While overall homelessness increased, HUD’s 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress found that the number of persons in families with children experiencing homelessness declined 17.8 percent in Colorado since 2016 and by 57.4 since 2010. Veteran homelessness in Colorado declined 8.7 percent from 2016 and 18.1 percent from 2010. Local communities reported 10,940 persons experienced homelessness on a single night in 2017, an increase of 3.7 percent since last year.

“In many high-cost areas of our country, especially along the West Coast, the severe shortage of affordable housing is manifesting itself on our streets,” said HUD Secretary Ben Carson. “With rents rising faster than incomes, we need to bring everybody to the table to produce more affordable housing and ease the pressure that is forcing too many of our neighbors into our shelters and onto our streets.  This is not a federal problem—it’s everybody’s problem.”

“The lack of affordable housing in the Rocky Mountain Region has meant that more people are experiencing homelessness,” said HUD Rocky Mountain Deputy Regional Administrator Eric Cobb. “It is more important than ever that we work together to create and maintain affordable housing to ensure that the families, veterans, and youth of our communities have quality places to live.”

HUD’s national estimate is based upon data reported by approximately 3,000 cities and counties across the nation.  Every year on a single night in January, planning agencies called ‘Continuums of Care” and tens of thousands of volunteers seek to identify the number of individuals and families living in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs and in unsheltered settings.  These one-night ‘snapshot’ counts, as well as full-year counts and data from other sources (U.S. Housing Survey, Department of Education), are crucial in understanding the scope of homelessness and measuring progress toward reducing it.

Key National Findings of HUD’s 2017 Annual Homeless Assessment Report:

On a single night in January 2017, state and local planning agencies (Continuums of Care) in Colorado reported:

10,940 people were homeless representing an overall 3.7 percent increase from 2016 and a 29.3 percent decrease since 2010.

The data indicates a 3.8 percent decline in overall homelessness in the Metro Denver area.

Most homeless persons (7,081) were located in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs while total 3,859 persons were unsheltered.

The number of families with children experiencing homelessness declined 17.8 percent since 2016 and 57.4 percent since 2010.

Veteran homelessness decreased 8.7 percent (or 103 persons) since January 2016. Since 2010, Veteran homelessness in Colorado declined 18.1 percent.  On a single night in January 2017, 1,078 Veterans were experiencing homelessness.

The number of unaccompanied homeless youth and children in 2017 is estimated to be 763.  This year, HUD and local communities launched a more intense effort to more accurately account for this important, difficult to count population. HUD will treat 2017 as a baseline year for purposes of tracking progress toward reducing youth homelessness.