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A look at the current state of homelessness in Virginia

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Over half a million people in the U.S. are currently experiencing homelessness.

That means they are living in a place not meant for habitation, such as the side of the street or an abandoned building, or they are in temporary or transitional housing.

While Virginia has far fewer homeless people than many other states, thousands of people still find themselves homeless in the Old Dominion every year.

Let us explore the current state of homelessness in Virginia in more detail.

What services are available in Virginia for homeless people?

Thankfully, there are multiple services in Virginia that can help homeless people in various ways.

For instance, the Virginia Homeless Solutions Program is a funding source that helps to support the implementation of local housing-focused emergency crisis response teams via community-based activities that are designed to reduce the number of households that become homeless.

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development can also help people in Virginia. For instance, on its website, you can find information about homeless services providers in the state as well as resources for food banks, social security services, and legal assistance.

Organizations working with homeless people and providing services to help end homelessness in Virginia are now connected better than ever before, thanks to HMIS software, which allows providers to better manage data for their programs and services.

The best Homeless Management Information Systems work with HUD standards and homelessness data to deliver databases that are configured to the needs of a specific agency.

Basically, with HMIS, it is easier to collect data on the provision of services to homeless people and individuals at risk of homelessness. Coupled with the great work that the various homeless services providers are doing, HMIS is enabling organizations to provide better services for homeless people and persons at risk of becoming homeless in Virginia.

Ultimately, the aim is to stop homelessness from occurring altogether.

How many people are currently homeless in Virginia?

According to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, the latest figures reported by Continuums of Care to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development showed that, as of January 2020, there were approximately 5,957 homeless people in Virginia on any given day.

Let us break down those statistics further. Out of the 5,957 individuals:

  • 234 were unaccompanied young adults aged between 18 and 24.
  • 395 were veterans.
  • 621 were households.
  • 813 were experiencing chronic homelessness.

And according to public school data that was reported to the Department of Education, between 2018 and 2019, over the duration of the school year, approximately 20,443 public school students in Virginia experienced homelessness, of which:

  • 185 were unsheltered.
  • 1,937 were in shelters.
  • 3,262 were in temporary accommodation like motels.
  • 15,059 were doubled up.

To get a better idea of the current figures for homelessness, let us consult the World Population Review website.

It shows that at present in 2022, there are approximately 5,783 people in Virginia experiencing homelessness, which is just slightly lower than the figure of 5,957 in January 2020.

How does Virginia’s homelessness compare to other states?

As mentioned in the introduction, Virginia actually has much fewer homeless people than other states. So, how exactly does Virginia compare?

The state with the highest homeless population is California, with an estimated 151,278 homeless people.

Following California, the next states with the highest homelessness populations are:

  • New York, with 92,091 homeless people.
  • Florida, with 28,328 homeless people.
  • Texas, with 25,848 homeless people.
  • Washington, with 21,577 homeless people.
  • Massachusetts, with 18,471 homeless people.
  • Oregon, with 15,876 homeless people.
  • Pennsylvania, with 13,199 homeless people.
  • Georgia, with 10,443 homeless people.
  • Ohio, with 10,345 homeless people.

Story by Jessica Perkins

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augusta free press
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