Houston Cut Its Homeless Population Nearly In Half

By Kenrya Rankin Jun 12, 2015

A new report from Coalition for the Homeless reveals that the number of unsheltered homeless people in the Houston area has dropped by 46 percent since 2011.

The statistics come from a “point-in-time” count of people who were experiencing homelessness on January 29, 2015, in the greater Houston area (Harris County and Fort Bend County) in Texas. The annual canvass found that there were 4,609 people either staying in emergency shelters, transitional housing or safe havens, or unsheltered (living in places not meant for human habitation, such as abandoned buildings or under bridges). In 2011, that number was 8,538. This puts the current homeless rate at 1 out of every 1,130 residents. That number was 1 out of every 450 residents in 2011. Just under 60 percent of those displaced citizens are black.

“It’s incredible,” said Marilyn Brown, president and CEO of Coalition for the Homeless in the Houston Chronicle’s article available behind the newspaper’s paywall. “When we see the result—that the number of homeless has been cut in half—we see we’ve gone from managing homelessness to ending it.” With 58 percent of the total homeless population installed in some type of housing, all signs point to that being true. 

The coalition of homeless services providers said their success stems from the The Way Home, a local collaborative model adopted in 2012 with the goal of eradicating homelessness by installing permanent housing units and creating a coordinated intake, needs assessment and triage system that gets people the help they need more efficiently.