The Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress, or “AHAR,” provides comprehensive estimates of homelessness at the national levels, with some detail at the local and state levels as well. The annual report was first published by HUD in February 2007 and has been issued every year since then, providing a consistent picture of who experiences homelessness, how they move through the homeless services system, and how that changes over time. Drs. Jill Khadduri and Dennis Culhane have been co-principal investigators since the report’s inception.
- HMIS data are used to produce a count of the number of people who used an emergency shelter or transitional housing program at some point over the past 12 months, both in total and for various subpopulations: individuals, families with children, youth, and veterans. They include detailed information about demographic characteristics and patterns of service use—e.g., living situation before entering shelter, and the length of stay in emergency shelters and transitional housing programs. While HMIS data are collected at the Continuum of Care level, they are aggregated and available at the national level only in the AHAR. These data do not include people staying in unsheltered locations.
- Point-in-Time estimates provide a snapshot of homelessness on a given night. Every year, communities canvas for all people experiencing homelessness on a single night in January, both in shelters and in unsheltered locations such as streets, vehicles, and parks. These data are available at the national-, state-, and CoC-levels.
The goal of the AHAR is to provide consistent estimates over time and produce reliable trend information. Nonetheless, over the years the AHAR has included specific topics that reflect emerging issues. For example, the 2009 AHAR included data from the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program, a temporary program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The 2010 AHAR included for the first time data on people living in permanent supportive housing, while in 2013 communities began to submit data separately on unaccompanied youth. HUD is now in the process of redesigning the AHAR reporting requirements, which will leverage new information collected by CoCs and benefit from the maturation of HMIS.
In addition, the AHAR reports on the nation’s inventory of beds in emergency shelters, transitional housing, permanent supportive housing, and safe haven programs. These data are also reported at the CoC-level and aggregated at the state- and national-levels. This Housing Inventory Count provides a snapshot of the nation’s capacity to house people experiencing homelessness.
Download raw data sets from the Point-in-Time estimates and Housing Inventory Count