The January 2017 annual Point-in-Time Count identified 2,036 people who were either staying in an emergency shelter, transitional housing, or living on the streets, in cars or other areas not intended for human habitation. This number has remained relatively constant in the past five years..
The Point-in-Time Count occurs nation-wide, as directed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Hundreds of local volunteers comb the community to identify people who are experiencing homelessness on that particular day.
People who are Black or African American are overrepresented in the local homeless population. Although persons who identify as Black make up only 8% of the total Travis County population, 35% of the homeless population identify as Black. These estimates are based on standard homelessness needs assessments—called Coordinated Assessment Surveys—of 4,717 households.
This map, prepared by the Ending Community Homeless Coalition (ECHO), shows the distribution of the unsheltered homeless population by Austin City Council District during the 2018 Point in Time count. People experiencing homelessness without shelter are largely concentrated downtown.
During the 2016-2017 school year, Austin ISD’s Project Help program identified 2,311 students within the district who were either homeless, doubling up with relatives or others, or living in hotels, camp grounds, cars or other non-permanent housing. Despite a decrease during the 2016-2017 school year, over the past five years there has been a 13% increase in the number of students who have been identified by the District as homeless.
(ECHO) serves as the lead planning entity that coordinates the application process for, and management of the Continuum of Care (CoC) homeless services funding through HUD. ECHO helps homeless agencies implement Coordinated Assessment, a tool that ensures people are referred to the most appropriate services.
HUD awarded a $5.2 million grant to Austin/Travis County in January 2017 to end youth homelessness through an initiative lead by ECHO and Lifeworks.
ECHO is one of six entities nation-wide selected for a Pay for Success initiative. ECHO is working with Central Health, Travis County and the City of Austin to evaluate what savings our community can realize by providing services to people experiencing chronic homelessness who are high utilizers of crisis emergency services. By investing about $28,000 per person on housing, intensive case management and other services, the community can achieve a projected cost avoidance of about $50,000 per person due mostly to fewer emergency room visits, hospital visits and jail stays.
In August 2016, Austin became the 29th community nationwide to have effectively ended Veteran homelessness. This was achieved by building an unprecedented system led by Mayor Steve Adler’s leadership, strategic collaborations, and new housing strategies.