Homelessness Numbers and Trends in Texas

January 20, 2023 | by Michael Wilt

Categories: Homelessness, Supportive Housing Services, Texas Foundations Fund

Around this time each year, thousands of volunteers take to the streets across the country to perform the annual Point-in-Time (PIT) count to tally and identify those experiencing homelessness in their community. While it's not precise, it's the best attempt at accurately counting a community's unhoused residents and provides a snapshot of how many people are experiencing homelessness on any given night.

why point-in-time counts matter

Beyond the importance of knowing how many people are experiencing homelessness, PIT counts are required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). They are led by Continuums of Care (CoC), which are entities responsible for planning and managing their community's response to homelessness.

In Texas, we have 12 CoCs. There are 11 CoCs that represent major population centers, and the 12th is managed by the Texas Homeless Network and covers 215 rural counties across the state. CoCs report their PIT counts to HUD, and HUD, in turn, offers funding to CoCs for resources, programs, and housing support.

homelessness steadily declining

Turning to the PIT numbers, we can look at trends in homelessness over time. Since 2007, homelessness has been steadily declining in Texas. At that time, there were approximately 40,000 people experiencing homelessness across the state, but that number dropped to roughly 27,000 by 2020. That represents a 32% decline among the overall population experiencing homelessness in Texas.

Moreover, in that period, homelessness fell among almost every subpopulation. It was down 65% for veterans, 55% within families, 51% among chronically homeless, 34% for families, and 20% for single adults. Data surrounding the youth population wasn't collected until 2015. From 2015-2020, youth homelessness remained steady.  

In 2021, HUD suspended in-person counts due to health and safety challenges posed by the pandemic. But the 2022 data reflected the same trend as above -- a steady decline with 24,432 individuals experiencing homelessness statewide.  

get involved in your local pit count

If you're interested in volunteering in your community's PIT count, you should contact your local CoC. For example, you can sign-up here for Austin's PIT in late January. Many of them are seeking help to conduct PIT counts happening soon, and there is likely still time to help out depending on where you're located. 

tsahc's role in responding to homelessness

Here at TSAHC, we offer two programs designed to support local communities and their response to homelessness. The first is the Texas Supportive Housing Institute which provides training and technical assistance to teams developing permanent supportive housing in their communities. And the second is our Texas Foundations Fund which provides grant funding to organizations for supportive services at permanent supportive housing communities they operate.

On the House blog posts are meant to provide general information on various housing-related issues, research and programs. We are not liable for any errors or inaccuracies in the information provided by blog sources. Furthermore, this blog is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.

Leave a Comment