Homelessness Point-in-Time Count 2024

Homelessness Point-in-Time Count 2024

Point-in-time count demographics for Fairfax County

Point-in-time count demographics for Fairfax County

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Homeless Services Planning and Coordinating Committee's regional point-in-time counts are a "limited and imperfect perspective." In their May 2024 report, the authors acknowledge that it is a single-night snapshot of who is experiencing homelessness in the metropolitan Washington area. Weather, shelter bed availability and other variables affect the count, which does not show the scope of homelessness or the number of people assisted weekly, monthly, or annually.

“It is not unusual for a jurisdiction to serve as many as four or five times the number of people during a year as are counted during one night of the PIT enumeration,” according to the report.

In Fairfax County, 1,278 people reportedly were experiencing homelessness on the night of  Jan. 24, 2024, a reduction of 2% from 2023. Fairfax County was the sole jurisdiction in the metropolitan Washington region’s homeless services system that recorded a decrease. 

The counties of Arlington, Loudoun, Montgomery, Prince George's and Prince William; the City of Alexandria, and the District of Columbia all saw percentage increases from 2023 to 2024. The highest percentage change was 38 percent in Loudoun County, followed by 28 percent in Montgomery County, Md.

Nine thousand seven hundred seventy-four people were recorded in the metropolitan Washington region’s homeless services system — that total did not include people who were doubled up with family or friends per HUD restrictions. From 2023 to 2024, regional homeless count rose by 1,078, a 12 percent rise. 

The 2024 Point-in-Time (PIT) enumeration also shows how many individuals use year-round winter shelters, emergency shelters, safe havens, transitional housing, and permanent housing solutions.

A critical finding of the report is that with COVID-19 ending, federal emergency funding for rental assistance programs and eviction prevention measures ended. Rising housing costs compound those losses. The collaborating jurisdictions and service providers worry that many more region residents will become homeless. The lack of affordable and available permanent homes for the lowest-income households is one of the biggest challenges to reducing homelessness in the area.

HUD mandates that communities that receive federal funds conduct the annual count during the last ten days of January. The count uses electronic administrative records to enumerate people living in shelters. Local organizations have also counted unsheltered people yearly for 24 years even though it is only required every other year.

Visit  Point-in-Time Count 2024, Fairfax County Office to Prevent and End Homelessness, to learn more about trends by household types and subpopulations, including chronic homelessness, veterans,  youth ages 18-24, survivors of domestic violence, and demographics.