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Survey Results: Transitional Housing Conversion popular; 73% say Chronic Homeless definition problematic

The NHIP recently asked readers their opinion on different aspects of homeless and housing services on a 15 question survey.  The full SURVEY RESULTS Part 2 are available.  Highlights of the results include:

  • 71% of readers agree that most or some of a CoCs Transitional facilities should be converted to Permanent Housing.
  • 23% of readers feel the Chronic Homeless definition is ridiculous to implement. An additional 50% believe it misses chronic people since it is too difficult to implement.
  • 82% of readers believe individuals living doubled-up should be considered homeless either always (21%) or depending on circumstances (61%).
  • 59% believe emergency shelters should never charge fees.
  • 63% believe emergency shelters should not be required to have cots/bed frames in order to eliminate the practice of people sleeping on mats on the floor.
  • 43% believe homelessness can be ended with sufficient resources and collaboration.
  • 21% believe agree that there should be a category of "super-chronic" to denote people homeless for 5 or more year.

Updated findings from the initial SURVEY RESULTS Part 1 are also available.  A total of 255 persons completed Part 1 and 98 persons completed Part 2. 

Survey Part 2 is still open for persons wanting to respond.


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Published 03.25.17

NHIP estimates over $10 billion spent annually on homeless facilities

The NHIP has completed a State-by-State and Continuum-by-Continuum analysis of the estimated total spending on homeless facilities including emergency shelters, transitional housing, safe havens, permanent supportive housing, and rapid rehousing units.  The estimates use the total number of facilities as listed on the 2016 Housing Inventory Chart for each Continuum.  Facility bed costs are estimated per bed or unit and use general estimate from a review of existing literature and experience at several Continuums throughout the country.  The NHIP analysis estimates that more than $10 billion is spent from federal, state, local and private sources to operate these facilities 

NHIP took estimates of the annual cost of each type of facility and the number of facilities (beds or units) listed in the 2016 Housing Inventory Charts. Some CoC costs are hand-adjusted using a cost-of-living factor ranging from 0.85 (e.g. rural Louisiana, Tennessee) to 1.35 (e.g.New York City, San Francisco).  Cost of facilities vary widely, especially emergency and transitional shelters. There is no comprehensive literature available that contains accurate unit costs by Continuum area and facility.  

The NHIP used the following annual cost assumptions of the major types of HIC facilities based on existing estimates and experience working in several Continuums:

1)  Emergency Shelter Bed for single adult ($18,000)
2)  Emergency Shelter Unit for Family ($30,000)
3)  Transitional Housing Unit ($15,000)
4)  Save Haven Unit ($35,000)
5)  Permanent Supportive Housing Unit for single adult ($12,000)
6)  Permanent Supportive Housing for Family ($18,000)
7)  Rapid Rehousing unit assistance for single ($4,000)
8)  Rapid Rehousing unit assistance for family  ($6,000)

The NHIP does not make any claim of accuracy especially at the Continuum level.  The NHIP does feel that the true number is likely between $8 to $12 billion annually. This estimate provides a starting point for more comprehensive estimates using actual budget data.  Validation could be determined if a Continuum or State wishes to add budgets for homeless residential services in their jurisdiction.

There are many issues to think about when determining costs including the fact that many services and costs are often provided free such as free rent or low cost building expenses and free or low-cost meal provision through in-kind services.  For readers interested in changing some of the cost assumptions and re-running the analysis for their Continuum or State, NHIP can provide the full spreadsheet upon request. 

This total does not include non-residential homeless services that are not listed on the Continuum Housing Inventory Chart Including federally-funded PATH Outreach funding ($65 millIon, Health Care for the Homeless funding ($400), non-residential HOPWA funding, and other initiatives that would put the total amount of federal, state, and local spending over the $11 billion mark. 

The NHIP welcomes feedback on this analysis.

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Survey Results:  1/3 feel homelessness is getting worse; Only 25% think street counts within 10% of accuracy

A total of 235 respondents (thank you!) completed the first NHIP 10-item survey covering opinions on important subjects within homeless services.   The full report contains a complete breakdown by question. Click on survey (right)  to read and download.  Key highlights of the survey include:

  • 43% feel the unsheltered count should occur with greater frequency than annually.  The current HUD mandate is every two years.
  • 20% agreed that persons living in Transitional Housing should not be considered homeless.  
  • 31% feel there is too much emphasis on chronic homelessness funding.
  • 65% feel that HUD is definitely (17%) or somewhat (48%) on the right track.
  • 11% think that Transitional Housing should receive no federal funding.

The intent of the NHIP is two-fold: 1) To track attitudes from key stakeholders working in the homeless field, and 2) To use questions to elicit different ways of thinking about key axioms guiding homeless services (e.g. Should people in DV shelters or Transitional Housing be defined as homeless?)

While the survey sampling is not methodologically rigorous, the NHIP does feel that given the number of respondents and the distribution of readership of the NHIP across the country, there is a good likelihood that results reflect the attitudes of people working at the management level of homeless services in the U.S.

Published 02.23.17

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Published 01.23.17

Will the Senate Housing Appropriations Committee house their 44,000+ homeless constituents?

Homeless estimates in the home states of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee that controls funding for homeless services shows that the one-day prevalence of the Senators constituents with serious mental illness who are homeless is over 44,000.  The list includes:

Additional funding of $450 million is needed to fund 22,000 new Housing vouchers.  The chart above shows an estimate amount of funding that would be distributed to each of the Senator's states if the needed funding were approved.  The State of California has tremendous need due to continuing growing population of homeless persons with serious mental illness. 

In FY16, a $250 million increase in funding was coupled with a transfer of $200 million in CDBG million to cover the needed HUD funding increase for chronically homeless persons, the majority of whom have serious mental illness.

The NHIP estimates that a minimum of 40,000 new vouchers for SMI homeless experiencing chronic homelessness are needed using the same successful strategy that has cut chronic homeless among veterans by more than 50% in the past 6 years.

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Vouchers for SMI Homeless critical to ending long bouts of unsheltered homelessness


Homeless estimates from the annual HUD application reported a total of 45,000+ persons with serious mental illness (SMI) who were experiencing unsheltered homelessness on any given day.  A total of 14 CoCs reported more than 500 SMI homeless persons.  See table below. For a completed breakdown, CLICK HERE for the full report.

A total of 9 CoCs from California were among the 14 with 500 or more SMI homeless.  Both CoCs in Hawaii were also represented as well as CoCs from New York City, Las Vegas, and BOS Georgia.

The NHIP has estimated a minimum need of 40,000 vouchers specifically for chronically homeless persons with serious mental illness.  In comparison, the VA-HUD VASH initiative has provided over 87,000 vouchers for homeless veterans.  When the VASH initiative began in 2009, estimates of one-day veterans homeless prevalence ranged between 80,000 and 100,000.  Using this simple comparison, the NHIP estimates the need for 40,000 new vouchers and reassignment of additional 40,000 vouchers as they turnover in current PSH programs.

A review of the SMI prevalence also revealed a large variation between CoCs in the percentage of unsheltered homelessness that are estimated to be seriously mentally ill.  Below are the select CoCs with very high and very low SMI percentages.

High Prevalence                                       Lowest Prevalence
1.  CT-503 Bridgeport - 86.5%             1.  WA-500 Seattle 4.4%
2.  CA-504 Santa Rosa - 69.8%            2.  FL-509  Fort Pierce 5.8%
3.  KY-501 Louisville -  68.8%               3.  CA-503 San Diego 13.6%   

The average estimated prevalence of SMI across all Continuums is 25.7% for unsheltered homeless persons and 16.5% for sheltered persons.  NHIP recommends that Continuums who have a prevalence much higher or much lower than the national average review their estimation procedures.  The use of untrained volunteers or staff to collect data during Point In Time counts reduces the ability to do estimation procedures with any accuracy.  

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Published Jan 11, 2017 

NHIP "Purchasing Power" Analysis:  High FMRs reduce True Homeless Funding level for high-cost areas

The NHIP has completed an Analysis on 50 Select Communities that adjusts HUD funding for the cost of housing using the 2016 studio FMR rate.  Since HUD funding essentially pays for rental assistance, adjusting the funding by the cost of housing produces a "Purchasing Power" level which can allow for a better comparison of the ability of funding to reduce homelessness.  

Top Five Communities impacted
by Purchasing Power reductions:

1.  New York City (-$57.6 million)
2.  Los Angeles (-$38.5 million)
3.  Chicago (-$19.6 million)
4.  San Francisco (-$18.3 million)
5.  Seattle (-$14.7 million)

Adjusting Homeless Per Capita Funding (Funding divided by PIT Count) using the new Purchasing Power funding levels yield even greater disparities between high cost areas with high homeless prevalence.  The table below shows select communities with the highest and lowest funding levels after controlling for purchasing power.  The average level of Funding Per Capita is $3,522.

Lowest PP-adjusted Funding Per Capita
1.  New York City ($678)
2.  Honolulu ($854)
3.  District of Columbia ($1,165)
4.  San Diego ($1,214)
5.  San Jose ($1,366)

Highest PP-Adjusted Funding Per Capita
1.  Wilkes-Barre ($31,826)
2.  Cincinnati ($18,453)
3.  Cleveland ($18,113)
4.  Pittsburgh ($16,605)
5.  Ann Arbor ($13,081)

Currently, the HUD funding formula does not take into account the cost of housing. There is also no effort to connect persons living homeless in high cost areas to lower cost areas, a strategy used by many non-homeless households.  HUD new FMR standards will actually allow many communities to use even higher FMR levels to allow for increased deconcentration of PSH units.

Currently, HUD rent rules do not provide any incentive to recipients to choose lower cost housing since recipient rent is based on their income not on the cost of housing.  The NHIP feels this is a one of the fundamental flaws of the rent regulations.

The NHIP recommends HUD rule changes to incorporate normative alignment of rental housing regulations including great portability of subsidies, non-linkage of rent to income, elimination of the 30% rent rule which provides a great disincentive to form multi-earner households, and specifically allowing HUD housing subsidy recipients the right to share their housing with family or friends without impact to rent or compliance.

The NHIP believes that HUD policies since the 1960s - particularly the 30% rent rule and its regulations - are responsible for much of modern homelessness and housing instability. 

Analysis of 2016 Homeless Funding compared to Homeless Prevalence

A new NHIP analysis comparing HUD homeless funding awards with the most recent estimates of homelessness shows continued large disparities among Continuums reinforcing the need for HUD to adjust funding for communities significantly underfunded.

The NHIP created two adjusted funding measures:  1)  Measure 1 represents Funding Per Homeless Person by dividing the HUD homeless funding award for the CoC by its PIT homeless count; 2) Measure 2 represents  Funding Per Homeless Services by dividing the HUD homeless funding award for the CoC by its PIT homeless count plus its PSH count.  Since more than 70% of homeless funding supports PSH units, a measure incorporating these totals is needed to give a more balanced picture.  Taken together, these two measures offer the ability to identify communities with sigificant underfunding compared to its peer Continuum.

Measure 1 produced an average funding level of $3,531 with a high of $23,180 in PA-503 Wilkes-Barre/Hazelton/Luzerne and a low of $3.55 in CA-524 Yuba/Sutter. Measure 2 produced an average funding level of $2,180 with the high of $8,027 in PA-503 and a low of $3.55 in CA-524.  The report table is sorted by Measure 1.  Below are the top 20 most "underfunded" large Continuums (CoCs with more than 1,000 homeless):

A review of the top twenty "most underfunded" is populated with many CoCs from California (8) and Florida (6) in addition to two other West Coast/Pacific Continuums.

Continuums that continue experience increases in homelessness also showed Measure 2 levels well below average including Hawaii BOS ($625), District of Columbia ($1,421), and San Diego ($1,423) . 

The NHIP will provide additional analysis on funding levels in the coming weeks.

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Published 12.20.16

Homelessness among Adults with Serious Mental Illness rises

In the latest 2016  estimates for one-day homelessness collected in January 2016, data show a rise of 3.6 percent in the estimated prevalence of homelessness among adults with serious mental illness (SMI).  The 2016 estimates from 402 Continuums across the country totaled 107,801 compared to 104,083 in 2015. Increases in sheltered and unsheltered homelessness among SMI persons were reported with a total of 61,846 in emergency or transitional shelters and 45,955 living in the streets, parks and other places not fit for human habitation.

The NHIP has compiled a state-by-state prevalence report from the individual subpopulation reports.  The report also calculates the SMI prevalence as a percentage of total one-day homelessness.  HUD has not provided a comparison chart for homeless subpopulation estimates.

Eight states led by California, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Texas, and Washington reported a one-day SMI unsheltered homeless count of 1,000 or great.  California had by far the highest number of SMI unsheltered homeless with a one-day estimate of 24,269 followed by Florida with 2,791.

The State of Maine reported the highest percentage of SMI homeless among all homeless persons at 42.2 percent, while South Dakota had the lowest estimated prevalence rate of 7.7 percent.  Overall, the national average is estimated at 19.6 percent of all homeless, with a sheltered rate of 16.6 percent and unsheltered rate of 26.1 percent.

Estimates of seriously mentally ill are generally thought to undercount the true prevalence since PIT estimates generally rely on self-reports.  Serious mental illness includes schizophrenia, schizo-affective disorder, bipolar depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and major depression.

The NHIP has called for the creation of 40,000 new Permanent Supportive Housing vouchers at an annual cost of $500 million to reduce by half the prevalence of SMI homelessness.

Published 12.05.16

Homeless Increases Skew toward the West Coast/Pacific

A new NHIP Report using recently released HUD data on 2016 Point-in-Time sheltered and unsheltered homeless estimate show that 13 of the 15 Continuums with the largest increases in unsheltered homeless are all from West Coast/Hawaii states or those neighboring (Idaho or Arizona). The 15 areas include:

These fifteen areas reported a combined 9,186 increase from 51,550 in 2015 and 60,736 in 2016 for an overall increase of 17.7%.

The report revealed that among all 402 Continuums, 150 CoCs reported increase with 251 CoCs showing decreases in overall one-day homeless estimates.  Unsheltered estimates which experienced an overall increase of 1.8% featured 163 CoC with increases and 173 with decreases.  Sixty-six (66) reported no change, with almost all using 2015 data due to the lack of count in 2016.

Many CoCs like Honolulu and San Diego have been ata the top of lists of as areas receiving significantly less funding compared to their homeless prevalence.  The NHIP plans to do additional analysis comparing funding per capita and homeless estimate changes.


Published on November 22, 2016

2016 PIT Skinny:  Sheltered, Vets, Chronic Down; Unsheltered Non-Vet Homeless Up 4%

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has published comprehensive tables on the 2016 PIT count estimates from each of the 400+ CoCs around the country.

Data reported show an overall 2.6% decrease in one-day homeless estimates (564,708 to 549,928) from 2015 to 2016 with a 4.6% decrease in sheltered homelessness and 1.8% increase in unsheltered homelessness.  The NHIP notes that the HUD-reported 2.6% decrease is identical to the decrease reported by NHIP in mid-summer after collection of a 30% sample of CoC reports. 

Overall, 15 states led by Idaho (14%) and the District of Columbia (14%) reported an increase in total overall homelessness.  Other states reporting large increases included Delaware, Oklahoma, Colorado, Washington, Rhode Island, and Hawaii.  Among the 39 states and terrorities that reported decreases, North Dakota (-29%) and Vermont (-27%) and West Virginia (-24%) led the way. 

Homeless veteran counts continue to decrease with a 17% drop from 47,725 in 2015 to 39,471 in 2016. The massive funding through VASH and VA service connected increases has been a key factor in addition to the lower overall prevalence of veterans in the nation.  

The NHIP reports that Persons who are Not Veterans experienced only a 1.3% decrease from 516,983 in 2015 to 510,457 in 2016, less than half the total national increase. Unsheltered prevalence of non-veterans rose by 4% from 157,048 in 2015 to 163,290 in 2016. 

The NHIP will be providing additional reports and analyses using the newly released data at the State and CoC level in the upcoming months.  As always, the NHIP welcomes suggestions on reports.

Originally published 11.21.2106

Chronic Homeless Prevalence Estimates Report shows wide State-by-State Variation 

In the first analysis using newly published 2016 PIT Homeless , the NHIP compared the percentage of chronically homeless persons as a percent of the report one-day homeless counts.

Overall, 16% of homeless persons were identified as chronic with chronically homeless persons representing 8% of sheltered persons and 32% of unsheltered persons.  Variation in the chronic prevalence among the 54 states and U.S. Terrorities showed a range between 4% to 40%.  Sheltered chronics ranged from 0% to 21% and unsheltered chronic prevalence ranged from 4% to 75%.

Variation in chronic prevalence can be a marker for several issues: 1) Lack of consistent methodology used by CoC across the country, 2) Differential mix in the types of homeless facilities in a state, 3)  Real differences in population characteristics, and 4) General unspecific errors in tabulations by CoCs and States.

Prevalence rates that fall outside one standard deviation of the average (total  9% to 23%; unsheltered 18% to 46%) should be reviewed for all the above potential threats to accuracy.  The NHIP will complete comparisons at the CoC level in the next week.

It is critical for CoCs to correctly identify persons who are chronic as Coordinated Entry Systems using the HUD Orders of Priorities are being implemented across the country.

 Originally published 10.21.16

NHIP publishes State of Florida Homeless Report

In partnership with the Florida Coalition for the Homeless, the NHIP has published the "State of Florida Report:  2016 Homeless Census Estimates and Funding Need to End Chronic Homelessness".  The report was presented at the recent FCH Conference in Orlando, FL on October 5th.   

The report contains data from each of 27 FL Continuums and presents census estimates on all major demographic groups  including total homeless, sheltered, unsheltered, veterans, and chronically homeless persons.  Comparisons with 2015 data are included for many data tables.  The report also presents population prevalence rates of homelessness.

Data show a 7 percent decrease in total homelessness from 35,900 in 2015 to 33,466 in 2016.  Veterans homeless fell 35% from 3,926 to 2,902  

A highlight of the report is an estimate of the need for additional permanent supportive housing beds for each of the 27 Continuums in order to end chronic homelessness in their community.  The report estimates a need for 2,991 beds at a cost of $34 million annually.


Updated Sept 15, 2016

NHIP:  It's the Funding Level, Stupid !

Response to Open Comment on funding formula


The NHIP has formulated a response to the HUD Open Comment period concerning the funding formula. The response contains four key recommendations:

1)  HUD should solicit comments on modifications to ARD funding not PPRN funding which has only limited impact.

2)   While VA funding has increase 350% since 2001, HUD funding has increase only 27%.  Substantial funding increases must be advocated including the creation of 40,000 vouchers for chronically homeless individuals.

The NHIP reminds that the systemic problem is a lack of funding. The figure belows shows the increase in VA funding that has been the primary engine to reduce veteran homelessness.

3)  Allocation of Continuum Homeless Assistance funding should use the following five (5) indicators:
           30%  Current ARD
           20%  HIC bed count (ES,TH,SH,PSH,OPH)
           20%  Unsheltered count
           15%  FMR
           15% Level of new homeless entry

4)  Allocation of Continuum Planning dollars should provide a minimum of $25,000 with a reduced percentage for CoC ARD amounts above $10 million.


HMIS Vendor Distribution for CA and FL

The NHIP has collected information on HMIS choices for two (2) of the larger states - California and Florida.  A big thank you to Joe Colletti at Urban Initiatives for providing the CA listing and the Florida Homeless Coalition for its state listing.  A written request  to HUD in June 2016 for the complete HMIS vendor listing for all 400+ CoCs was not answered.  The NHIP welcomes other states (especially large states) and individual CoCs to send their vendor distribution.  More competition for HMIS software helps make better choices for agencies.


Updated 08.10.16

More Scores Posted!  CoCs share scores and debriefs

The NHIP received several responses to its request last week asking CoCs to share HUD scoring of their 2015 application. Three high-scoring Continuums - Philadelphia (PA-500), Springfield-Hampden (MA-504), Omaha-Council Bluffs (NE-501) - have given the NHIP permission to publicly release their scores (coupled with their applications).  NE-501 has also made available the detail of their scoring.  Two additional CoCs also provided their application score.  

1)  Kings/Tulare (CA-513) - Score of 160.75  (not bad!)
2)  Philadelphia (PA-500) - Score of 168.5  (good going!)
3)  Springfield-Hampden (MA-504) - Score of 179.5  (impressive!)
4)  Omaha-Council Bluffs (NE-501) - Score of 184 (debrief) (silver medal?). NE-501 is featured under "Know Your Continuum" on the NHIP website..
5)  BOS Hawaii (HI-500) - Score of 149.5 (And its Hawaii!)
6)  Charlotte/Punta Gorda (FL-602) - Score of 130.5 (it is a great vacation spot !)
7)  BOS West Virginia (WV-508) - Score of 153 (debrief)
8)  Dallas /Irving(TX-600) - Score of 139 (debrief) 
9)  Louisville (KY- 501) -  Score of 157
10)  Santa Ana/Anaheim/Orange (CA-602) - Score of 160 (debrief)

We encourage more Continuums - both high and lower performers - to share their scores and applications from 2015.  We will add to this posting as we receive additional scoring information.

The Houston Coalition also confirmed to the NHIP that they did receive the high score of 188.  The NHIP could not find a copy of the application on the the Houston Coalition website. HUD posted that the median score was 150. 

The NHIP wishes all CoCs success on their upcoming applications! As always, if the NHIP can be of any help, please contact.


HUD solicits Comments on Homeless Funding Formula

On Thursday, July 21st, HUD released its OPEN COMMENT solitation  on the Continuum Homeless Funding Formula. The following set of documents accompanies the announcement:

  1. Federal Register Explanation Narrative - MUST READ!
  2. Excel-based Alternative Funding Tool -  Designed by HUD to show funding scenarios based on weighting of HUD-selected funding factors.
  3. HUD-produced  Alternative Funding Scenarios with amounts for each of the 400+ Continuums.

Initial NHIP comments include:

Critique 1:  HUD is requesting comments on PPRN amounts NOT the Annual Renewal Demand (ARD) which is the effective CoC funding level.  It is unclear how modifications of an adjustment to the PPRN will significantly impact funding for the vast majority of Continuums. See example below:

EXAMPLE 1: CIty and County San Diego
1.  Current PPRN:        $13,323,923
2.  HUD Alternative Scenario #1:  $16,840,372
3.  HUD Alternative Scenario #2:  $16,673,326
4 . HUD Alternative Scenario #3:  $15,738,952
5.  HUD Alternative Scenario #4:  $16,628,640
6.  Current 2016 ARD: $17,363,919

Critique 2:  HUD specifically in the federal register states that it does not believe  current PIT counts (either sheltered/unsheltered or a combination or transformation) are reliable enough to be used for funding allocation purposes.  The NHIP specifically believes this to be untrue and short-sighted and that PIT counts can be incorporated given simple data transformations to adjust for the fact that unsheltered counts are known to be estimated (with error increasing as estimates rise) with varying degrees of quality.

EXAMPLE: CIty and County San Diego
Funding based on Homeless Prevalence
1)  NHIP estimate: $22,267,919
2)  HUD estimate:  $24,661,182

Critique 3:  HUD's excel-based scenarios are very limited since only HUD selected factors are included.  Impacts for cities with significant underfunding are not significantly altered, magnitude-wise or in comparison with other cities.  By the doing, it is limiting the ability of advocates to provide strong evidence for use of different factors.

Critique 4:  While HUD states that PIT counts are not reliable enough, it employs these very rates in its statistical correlation analyses to justify its own factor choices. 

In the coming weeks, the NHIP will provide additional information and analyses for Continuums and communities to help them craft responses to the Funding Formula. The OPEN COMMENT period is for 60 days or approximately September 20th (pending confirmation of publication date).

The NHIP acknowledges the work of Rep.  Scott Peters (D-CA-52) and his staff on advocating for changing the formula over the last three years.  


(posted 07.19.16)

What is the true cost of reducing Veteran Homelessness?

As communities push for achieving Functional Zero for veterans, it is important to understand and document the true total cost of achieving these reductions. Underreported in the media and undeniably an important factor is the tremendous increase in benefits compensation awarded by the VA since the campaign to end veteran homelessness began in 2009.  

The recent NHIP veterans compensation analysis reports that from 2010 to 2015 the number of veterans receiving disability compensation rose from 3.2 million to 4.2 million including over 250,000 Vietnam veterans receiving benefits for the first time.  In addition, the average annual disability compensation has risen from $9,400 in 2006 to $14,400 in 2015.  Currently, nearly 1 in 5 veterans receive service-connected disabilities.

In 2015 alone, approximately 95,000 veterans were newly awarded service-connected benefits at the 70% to 100% degree level.  A total of 313,000 veterans received first time benefits in 2015 totalling $3.62 billion,  The VA disability compensation  budget has more than doubled over the past six years from $50 billion to over $100 billion.

This voluminous increase in spending on veterans disability benefits must be understood within the context of reducing homeless prevalence among other important subpopulations. While SSI benefits to non-veterans have increased over the years, the rate is far less (single digits) and the federal SSI awards currently $733 per month equal only a 50% service-connected combined degree.

The direct VA homeless budget, listed at $1.6 billion annually, is as large as nearly two-thirds of the recently announced 2016 $2.5 billion HUD homeless services budget.  If the veterans population represents only 15% of the total homeless population, then common sense would dictate that funding to reduce homelessness among the severally mentally ill and other key populations would need a budget at least three-fold and as much as six-fold the current HUD Homeless Assitance budget.  The VA and HUD created and maintains 70,000+ vouchers for veterans at a cost approaching $1 billion alone.  Wouldn't at least 200,000 new vouchers be required for non-veterans?  Isn't a minimum increase of $3 billion needed?

The silence among leading advocacy groups for a significant increase in funding for non-veterans has always been troubling. The CoC budget has barely doubled in the past 15 years. Needless to say, homeless service workers pay is relatively flat as well hurting the system further by making it ever difficult to attact the talent needed. Taking away the reduction in veterans homelessness, homeless prevalence is relatively flat over the past few years. 

If success to reduce veterans homelessness is to be proclaimed, it must be understood that TREMENDOUS  INCREASES in funding that are as big as the entire $48 billion HUD budget have been a driving force.  If significant gains among the non-veterans population are to be seriously targeted, then serious commitments are a prerequisite.

Michael Ullman, Ph.D.
NHIP Coordinator


PIT UPDATE: Count down 2.6% with 144 CoCs reporting

With information collected from 136 Continuums, results show an estimated national decrease of approximately 6,500 compared to the 2015 count. Results from publicly-released one-day counts held in January 2016 report a total of 240,797 homeless persons compared to 247,171 from the same communities in 2015 for an overall 2.6% decrease.

The Homeless Action of Detroit (HAND) reported a 10% overall decrease from 2,597 in 2015 to 2,335 this past January.  Detroit experienced an increased in unsheltered from 151 to 193 while sheltered persons decrease 12% from 2,446 to 2,142.

Other recent reports include the South Carolina 2016 report from the SC Coalition for the Homeless representing the state's four (4) Continuums estimates an overall reduction from 5,354 to 5,050 including an 11 percent reduction in unsheltered homelessness from 1,897 in 2015 to 1,689 in 2016.  

Data from the Institute for Community Alliances (ICA), the HMIS lead for the State of Alaska, showed little change in statewide totals (1,956 in 2016 compared to 1,940 in 2015) although the Anchorage CoC total fell 9% while the BOS rose 12%.  The ICA become the lead agency during the past year and did not conduct the 2015 PIT count. Conclusions about trends using the 2015 data are not recommended by the ICA.

For a complete listing of the PIT 2016 results collected to date CLICK HERE.  


Originally posted 06.06.15

FMR rates rise further in already high-priced cities

An NHIP analysis of the change in FMR rates from 2015 to 2016 showed an estimated 4% average increase across the 4,500+ areas in the nation.  A review of the 20 most expensive metro areas revealed very large increases among a majority, including San Francisco, New York City, and Honolulu. FMR rents for a few cities including Santa Cruz and the suburbs of NYC were adjusted downward.  The table below provides details on the 2BR FMR rate change for the 20 areas.

Among all areas with HUD FMR rates, the estimated average 2BR FMR is $800 with two-bedroom rates below $600 in non-urban areas of Louisiana, Alabama, West Virginia, and Tennessee.  The  middle two quartiles (from the 25th to 75th percentiles) ranged from $659 to $934.  

The 20 fastest rising FMR rates in 2016 (chart below) included multiple areas in North Carolina and growing areas in the State of Washington and Lousiana.  FMR rate adjustments typically lag actual rent change by one year or longer. Increases in FMR rates also require increases in HUD funding for grants for lease costs like Permanent Supportive Housing to ensure that subsidies can be maintained as rents rise.  Due to the HUD rent formula, clients are not required to pay more in rent since payments are tied to client income not actual rental costs.

The NHIP would like to thanks Matt Simmonds of SimTech Solutions for sending us the FMR comparison file for review. 


And the HUD Funding Winner is. . .CA-507 Marin County!    

Using a ratio of the current Continuum ARD funding level and its PPRN amount, the NHIP has developed a measure to assess the success of Continuums in securing funding through the annual McKinney-Vento homeless assistance awards.

In the past decade, HUD has initiated a more competitive process for Continuum funding.  The ARD/PPRN ratio provides an empirical tool to assess how successful Continuums have been in securing bonus awards and priotizing housing projects that can increase its ARD.  In general, the higher the ratio, the better the Continuum has performed in the funding competition.  The PPRN essentially serves as a baseline funding level, while the ARD is the current funding renewal level of previously awarded projects.  The NHIP realizes that additional mitigating circumstances may exist at the Continuum level to explain some of the ratio variance.

The current 2015 ARD total is $1.83 million, while the PPRN total is $1.42 million. The overall ARD/PPRN ratio is 1.28.  Continuums with a ratio exceeding the national average have fared better over the past decade in securing funding.

1. Marin County (CA-507) Ratio =8.91
2. Mendocino County (CA-509) Ratio=7.79
3. Nashua/Hillsborough (NH-502) Ratio=6.48
4. Charles/St. Mary's/Calvert (MD-508) Ratio= 6.18
5. Garrett County (MD-510) Ratio = 4.83
6. Eaton County (MI-523) Ratio = 4.55
7. Eugene/Springfield/Lane (OR-500) Ratio = 4.37
8. Alexandria County (VA-603) Ratio = 4.14
9. Washtenow County (MI-509) Ratio = 4.09
10. Newburg/Middletown/Orange (NY-602) Ratio =  3.77 

For a complete list of Continuum Ratios, CLICK  HERE

1. Connecticut  -  Ratio = 2.68
2. Washington  -  Ratio = 2.29
3. District of Columbia = Ratio = 2.26
4. Maine - Ratio = 2.20
5. Alaska - Ratio = 2.09

For a State-by-State Ratio comparison, CLICK HERE

Note:  The Louisiana Balance of State Continuum was not included in this analysis.  A preliminary calculation yielded a ratio above 15.0.  The NHIP wanted to confirm the information on this Continuum before adding it to the analysis.


Originally Posted 04.01.16

NHIP Special Update: State-by-State Ranking of Homeless Assistance  "Per Capita" Funding 

In response to reader requests, the NHIP has tabulated Homeless Assistance Funding "Per Capita" Rates by State.  Per capita funding is a measure developed by the NHIP to assess disparities in federal homeless assistance funding.  Per Capita funding is calculated by dividing the Annual Renewal Demand and Planning funding (numerator) by the Point-in-Time Homeless Count (denominator).

The analysis ranks the 50 states, District of Columbia and U.S. Territories from highest-to-lowest homeless assistance per capita funding.  Data reveal that the State of Connecticut receives the highest amount of funding per capita with $8,464, while the State of Wyoming receives the lowest with $369.  The average funding per capita for the U.S. and  its territories is $2,822.  

Western/Pacific states, especially those with with low population densities, tend to receive very low per capita funding.  Rust belt and Northeastern states represented most of the top funded states.

The report also calculated the amount necessary to achieve an equalized level of funding using the U.S. average of $2,822.  The State of Illinois with a per capita rate of $6.675 currently receives $50 million more than it would receive with an equalized funding formula.  Ohio would require a reduction of $47 million, while Connecticut would lose $22 million.

Among states with below average per capita funding, New York would require an additional $79 million to achieve equalization, while California and Florida would need an additional $50 million and $27 million, respectively.  Wyoming, who has the lowest per capita rate, would stand to gain an additional $2 million in homeless assistance funding.

Many factors impact the level of federal McKinney-Vento homeless assistance funding including the performance of local communities in planning services and reducing homelessness.  This analysis offers information that can address wide disparities that may be hindering states’ ability to reduce homelessness, especially when compared to their peers.


Originally Posted 03.27.16

NHIP Special Report: Large Disparities in Federal Continuum Funding compared to Homeless PIT Count Prevalence

A comparison between Federal McKinney-Vento funding and Continuum Point-in-Time estimates of one-day homelessness revealed large inequalities in funding "per capita" received by the 400+ Continuums. The report entitled "An Analysis of the Allocation of the Federal Homeless Funding" aims to provide Continuums with information on potential federal funding barriers that may be hindering their progress to end homelessness.

Using 2014 data, the NHIP calculated an average of $2,822 in funding dollars per homeless person enumerated through the PIT across the nation. Continuum "per capita" funding ranged from less than $500 to more than $18,000 with 12 Continuums receiving more than $10,000  in funding. while 60 Continuums received less than $1,000 in funding per capita.  

Continuums from West Coast (Hawaii, California) and Sun Belt (Florida) tended to be over-represented among the lower funded Continuums, while Continuums from Northeastern states (New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania) tended to receive high funding levels. The report contains "per capita" rates for all 400+ Continuums.

The NHIP calculated that an equalization of funding would require movement of approximately $500 million in annual funding from high to low funded Continuums.  The report strongly recommends that the annual $300 million in "bonus" funding be employed to address large funding inequities between Continuums.

The report develops several diagnostics including a ratio of homeless-to-permanent housing beds to better understand and compare the structure of homeless bed inventories across the nation and its relationship to funding and success in reducing homelessness.

The report recognizes the limitations of the analysis and the problematic nature of all homeless services data. 


Originally posted 03.14.16

NEW REPORT:  Domestic Violence Beds within Continuum

The NHIP has published a new report on the prevalence of Domestic Violence beds within Continuums (as listed on the HIC) and at the State-level.  The report provides comprehensive data on the number of DV beds and the percentage of beds designated as DV.  A total 50,267 or 11.9% of all Continuum Emergency, Transitional and Safe Haven beds as designated for DV survivors.

Key recommendations from the study include requiring Continuum to report separately the domestic violence ned census and utilization in Continuum Point-in-Time counts.  The PIT DV counts can augment data currently collected the National Network to End Domestic Violence.  Additional recommendations and findings can be found in the report.

The new 2015 NNEDV Domestic Violence shelter count report can be found HERE for comparison.  Their annual DV count occurs in mid-September of each year and tallies utilization of shelter and services at over 1,900 domestic violence programs in the U.S.


Originally posted 03.01.16

Who can use the NHIP website?

One of the purposes of the NHIP is to provide a central place for persons working in homeless services to find and share important data concerning homelessness in their own community, neighboring communities, and national trends.

Many types of people can find the website helpful including:
-  Agency management
-  Grant writing staff or consultants
-  Foundations and private funders
-  Media Outlets (local or national)
-  Legislators and policymakers
-  Researchers and students

The website may especially be helpful to agencies and communities that have limited funding or capacity to find and write data that empirically describes the problems in their communities.

If you or your agency is looking for data and cannot locate it on the web or on our website - please feel free to contact us at and we will gladly help you out - NO CHARGE !


Originally posted 02.09.16


We are very proud and excited to launch this new collaborative grassroots effort - the National Homeless Information Project (NHIP). The mission of the NHIP is to increase knowledge and understanding of homeless services by working collaboratively across the nation.

For too long, the skills of hundreds of homeless service professionals lay underutilized as an engine to propel a greater understanding of homeless services and to foster an increased knowledge base of professional data collection and data analysis skills. The NHIP will provide that bridge among peers in an environment of openness and support.

The last decade, especially the last five years, has witnessed tremendous changes in the  strategies of homeless services and increased burdens on homeless services data systems. The NHIP will specifically focus on supporting all individual professionals and Continuums of Care to build a stronger foundation in the area of homeless data collection and to facilitate sharing homeless data from across the country to better inform both decision-makers, advocates, and homeless line staff workers.

The NHIP will also engage in original research that can illuminate disparities  across the nation and build knowledge in important topics impacting homeless services. We hope to build on data reported from the Exhibit 1 Continuum and engage professionals to contribute additional data and analysis that can provide an additional voice in reporting on progress towards reducing homelessness.

There is no cost to joining the NHIP effort. You can join by simply reading the information we will share through our website and emails. For those professionals interested in working to direct and disseminate the content, we invite you to join one of our Guidance Team

We look forward to getting started, and look forward to hearing from you and building collaborations across the country.


Thank you -

National Homeless Information Project 

P.S.  Please excuse any problems in the website! And let us know about any you see.



Voice your Opinion to Congress about saving the USICH

Charles Coley, ED of the NE-501 CoC, urges people to let Congress know of the valuable leadership provided by the USICH.  Read his letter.


Easy Steps to

Email Congress!


One-step connection to all your senators and representatives.  Just enter your ZIP CODE and your Senate and House representatives will come up.  Type your message and one-click will send to all !!

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Guide to Advocacy

"Indivisible" brief guide to effective advocacy written by ex-staffers. Highly Recommended !! The Guide is focused on Fighting Trump - but it is a good general guide to advocacy.


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as of Sept 30, 2016

81% Utilization Rate

68,217 Vouchers in use
16,204 Vouchers NOT in use

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Read Comments submitted on HUD formula

A total of 143 comments (108 individuals documents posted) were submitted to HUD concerning the homeless funding formula. Advocates from San Diego (18)) and Chicago (32) submitted about a large portion of all comments.  Comment were also submitted by other cities/states including Portland, Maine, Los Angeles, New Orlands, Sonoma, Santa Barbara, Montana, Austin, and Florida. Commenters from Chicago were particularly concerned that proposed formulas could reduce CoC funding by $22 million, or about 50% of the current level.  San Diego commenters proposed formula that could increase their funding which has shown to be very low compared to their homeless prevalence. Only 18 states were represented in the comments.



Congress fails to approve chronic homeless funding

At the Florida Homeless Conference, USICH Director Matt Doherty and SNAPS Director Norm Suchar reported that Congress did not approve the additional amount requested by HUD for expansion of vouchers for chronically homeless persons. The NHIP estimates a need for 40,000 vouchers at an annual cost of $500 million.

The annual costs of the VASH program is estimated to be over $1 billion providing 84,000 vouchers to homeless veterans, a portion of which have been chronically homeless.


CA-504 Sonoma HUD Comment Response

Sonoma County receives a very low amount of CoC funding  ($606 per homeless) compared to its homeless prevalence.  For more information about Sonoma County's initiatives, contact Continuum  Director Michael Gause at

Final San Diego RCCC Funding Open Comment Letter

San Diego RCCC drafts Funding Formula response 

The San Diego Regional Continuum of Care has drafted a response to  the HUD Open comment period on the modifying the Homeless Federal Funding period.  

The Board Action item recommends advocating for a formula using three factors with the following weights: 1) Renter Occupanied Units  (65%), 2) Affordability Gap (30%), and 3)  Rent-burdened Eli Housingholds (5%).  

NHIP encourages CoCs to use the San Diego formula to see its impact on your CoC funding.  The deadline for submission of comments to HUD ends September 23, 2016.

HUD rejects CoC FOIA for scoring detail

A recent Freedom of Information Request (FOIA) submitted on June 10, 2016 by the Lousiville Coalition for the Homeless requesting release of the full scoring of their 2015 application for homeless assistance was denied by HUD in a letter signed by Helen Goff Foster, HUD FOIA Office. 

In her letter, CoC Director Natalie Harris detailed that HUD provided explanation for only 59 of the 203 points available.  In order to improve the Louisville application, the CoC wanted more information on areas they needed to improve upon for this year.  The Louisville/Jefferson application receive a score of 157 out of 203.

The Louisville CoC also alerted Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell and Rep. John Yarmuth about the denial and requested assistance in pursuing the matter further.


CoC files FOIA for 2015 HUD scoring

The Charlotte/Punta Gorda (FL-602) Continuum has filed a Freedom of Information Act request with HUD to provide a full list of all 2015 Homeless Assistance application scoring. The FL-602 CoC also desires that greater information be produced by HUD to illuminate scoring criteria. 

In an interview with the CoC  Head Angela Hogan, the CoC said that it is concerned about the accuracy of the scoring given discrepancies that FL-602 has identified with their application scoring. 

ARD 2015/2016 comparison

An NHIP Brief Analysis of the 2016 ARD shows that 23 Continuums received increased of more than $1 million, while 11 CoCs saw decreases of $1 million or greater.

CoCs with large increases included Los Angeles, Houston, Portland, Denver, Connecticut BOS, and San Francisco.  Large decreases hit Miami, Baltimore, Boston, New York City, and Washington DC.  The 2016 ARD  totalled $1.88 billion, up $37 million from 2015.


TIER 2 Awards

FL, MA, IN, KY, HI, PR suffer big funding losses

An NHIP ANALYSIS of Tier 2 awards reveal the winners and losses in the HUD Homeless Assistance competition.  A total of $354 million funded both project renewals and new permanent housing programs.

Among states receiving increased funding, California and New York led the way receiving $104 million in renewal and bonus projects. Both states received more in Tier 2 awards than their ARD 15% reallocation amount.  Vermont received funding equal to 324% of the 15% ARD, the highest of any state or territory.

A total of 38 States and Territories received funding in excess of their 15% ARD amount, while 16 states were awarded less than the 15% ARD.  Florida, Indiana and Massachusetts each lost over $2 million in funding.  Indian, Hawaii, and North Dakota lost more than 50% of their ARD reallocation amount.  South Dakota did not receive any Tier 2 funding.

An analysis of FLORIDA Continuum awards show that the $3.2 million decrease, the largest in the nation, was led by a $4 million loss in funding by Miami/Dade (FL-600). Fourteen (14) of the 27 Florida Continuums received fewer Tier 2 funds compared to their 15% ARD reallocation amounts. Pasco County did not receive any Tier 2 awards.

The State of Florida received funding for 11 new projects totalling $2.8 million.  Sarasota and St. Petersburg and Sarasota earned  three (3) new project awards, respectively.  Orlando was awarded the single biggest new project in the State, a $1.08 million Rapid Rehousing award.

Florida is already a state that receives below average Homeless Per Capita  funding.  The 2016 funding losses will move Florida further down the ranks compared to other states.

The NHIP does not have access to individual Continuum project priority lists.  Assumptions were made in the analysis based on the current public information available.



Continuums interested in emailing the Senate Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs committee concerning H.R. 3700, please visit the Committee website.

Key amendments have been successfully added to H.R. 3700 that call for revising the funding formula for the HUD Continuum of Care and HOPWA (AIDS/HIV) programs.

Key to this effort has been the work of Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA-52) who has reached out to HUD Secretary Castro urging him to update HUD's funding formula that allocates homeless funding to 400+ Continuums throughout the country.  Peters serves the San Diego area which receives low per capita allocation ($1,711) compared to the national average ($2,822). Equalized funding based on homeless prevalence would bring San Diego an additional $9+ million annually. 

H.R. 3700 Housing Opportunity through Modernization Act was passed by the House on February  2, 2016 and now sits in the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs committee.  Rep. Peters' office expects the comment period for the HUD homeless funding formula to be open in the next few months after passage by the Senate.

Key amendments in H.R. 3700

Sponsor: Rep. Scott Peters (D-CA-52)

"Directs the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to reopen the period for public comment for the "Homeless Emergency Assistance and Rapid Transition to Housing: Continuum of Care Program" to allow stakeholders the opportunity to provide input on how HUD's resources can be most equitably used to end homelessness in our country."

H.R. 3700
Sponsor: Rep. David Price (D-NC-4) 

"To update and modernize HUD's funding formula for the Housing Opportunities for Persons With AIDS (HOPWA) program so that funding is distributed to jurisdictions based on living cases of HIV/AIDS."

H.R. 3700
Sponsor: Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN-5)

"Amendment sought to provide affirmative permission for housing providers who administer U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development funds to report on-time rental payment data for their tenants to credit reporting agencies without requiring and managing individual written consent agreements; and to direct HUD to retain tenant privacy so the furnished information would not specifically note that tenants receive HUD assistance."


New Chronic Homeless Reports

See our Homeless Data page for Chronic Homeless Estimates by Continuum 2013 to 2015. Data available in PDF and .XLS for sorting.

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Coming this June!

Homeless U

One of the first initiatives from NHIP will be HOMELESS U - an effort to build knowledge about homeless services among all homeless services staff — from CEOs to Case Managers to Data Specialists to Resident Assistants.

Understanding homelessness requires a great amount of knowledge in a specialized field generally not covered in any formal education.  HOMELESS U will help to fill this specialized training gap.

Homeless 101 –            

Sample Test Question

Q: Which of the following persons(s) are considered "Homeless" according to the Federal Definition?

  1. A person sleeping in a car at a rest stop.
  2. A family living in a camper for six months out of the year
  3. A person residing in jail
  4. A family living in a transitional apartment
  5. None of the above

The HOMELESS U initiative will disseminate curriculum and test instruments that can be incorporated into your employee training. More knowledgeable workers means better workers!