The number of adults and children experiencing homelessness in Montgomery County increased by 313 people since last year, according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) 2023 Point-in-Time (PIT) survey report released May 10. The PIT survey is part of an annual regional analysis and report that started in 2001.
According to the 2023 report, all nine jurisdictions in the Metropolitan Washington area included in the survey recorded an increase in the number of persons experiencing homelessness when compared to the 2022 count.
Montgomery County’s PIT count was conducted on the night of Jan. 25 as part of the nationwide effort to count people experiencing homelessness, including:
- Individuals who are unsheltered and living outside.
- Individuals who are staying in an emergency or hypothermia shelter.
- Individuals who are living in transitional housing where they receive supportive services designed to help them move into some form of permanent housing.
- Individuals no longer experiencing homelessness and who are now living in permanent supportive housing or other permanent housing and receiving supportive social services.
Montgomery County’s survey counted 894 adults and children experiencing homelessness and residing in shelters, transitional housing, or who were unsheltered. This includes 611 adult-only households and 85 families with minor children. While this year’s count shows a significant increase over 2022, there has been a 13-percent decrease over the past 10 years. As part of the effort to help find permanent housings, the County’s Continuum of Care (CoC) was able to assist 395 adult-only households and 106 households with minor children exit homelessness in 2022.
The CoC is a public-private partnership that includes State and local government agencies, nonprofit service providers, landlords and other stakeholders who have a role in preventing and ending homelessness. Led by the County’s Department of Health and Human Services, the CoC works to provide a continuum of housing services to individuals and families, including outreach and engagement, emergency and transitional shelter, rapid re-housing and permanent supportive housing. Case management is provided with an emphasis on removing housing barriers and connecting people with housing, employment, disability entitlements and other mainstream services. The continuum also utilizes a range of prevention initiatives, including emergency financial assistance, rent subsidies and energy assistance to prevent the loss of permanent housing.
Of the 726 adults counted, 29 percent did not have Montgomery County residency and were not able to demonstrate a loss of housing in Montgomery County. Another 20 percent have an assigned housing match but have been unable to sign a lease because of continued barriers with accessing housing. The barriers include a denial due to credit or criminal background or monthly housing costs exceeding program limits. For comparison, in December and January of 2021 and 2022, an average 162 households were housed in those two months. In this past December and January, only 39 households were able to move into housing.
"When the pandemic first began in early 2020, it was estimated that homelessness nationally would increase by 40 percent, and we are clearly seeing that in our community," said County Executive Marc Elrich. "There are many factors that have contributed to the increase, but we as a community continue to be committed to making homelessness rare, brief, and one-time only. While we are seeing an increase in homelessness in the community, I am proud that we were able to expand our ability to provide temporary shelter to the homeless by opening the new Nebel Street Shelter during the pandemic. Shelters are a necessary and important part of our continuum of services."
In 2022, Montgomery County’s CoC served 1,775 households through emergency shelter, transitional housing and outreach. This included 200 families and 1,575 adult-only households for a total of 2,312 adults and children supported. On the night of the count, the Continuum was providing 2,906 beds in permanent supportive housing, rapid rehousing and other permanent housing options – a 14 percent increase over 2021.
The COG 2023 Point in Time survey report is available on the COG website. For more information on County services, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/homelessness.