Data Snapshot: Reductions in Transitional Housing Do Not Cause Increases in Unsheltered Homelessness

February 20, 2020  |  Data and Graphics

Most States Reduced Unsheltered Homelessness While Also Reducing Transitional Housing Beds

An analysis of federal homelessness data debunks the claim that increases in unsheltered homelessness are the result of the federal government’s pivot to Housing First approaches.

The analysis shows that every state in the union reduced its inventory of transitional housing beds since 2013. During that period, 32 states and territories reduced the number of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness. This decrease is attributable to several factors, most notably the success of Housing First approaches in connecting people with permanent housing, then connecting them with supportive services.

“Now, more than ever, it is essential that we reply on credible data and analysis to guide our responses to homelessness. And the data is very clear: reducing our reliance on transitional housing did not cause unsheltered homelessness to go up,” said Nan Roman, President and CEO of the National Alliance to End Homelessness. “We encourage local and federal leaders to embrace the evidence-base behind Housing First approaches, and appropriately scale them up to their need.”

About Transitional Housing
Transitional housing provides longer-term temporary housing and case management support in single-site or scattered site settings. Some programs require compliance with a service plan as a condition of residence. The model is not considered appropriate for the majority of people experiencing homelessness, including those primarily facing economic barriers, and people with serious mental illnesses.

Over the past ten years, the federal government deprioritized transitional housing and shifted its support to Housing First approaches, which prioritize placing people into permanent housing, then making wrap-around services available to help people address their needs.

About the National Alliance to End Homelessness
The National Alliance to End Homelessness is a nonprofit, non-partisan, organization committed to preventing and ending homelessness in the United States. As a leading voice on the issue of homelessness, the Alliance analyzes policy and develops pragmatic, cost-effective policy solutions; works collaboratively with the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to build state and local capacity; and provides data and research to policymakers and elected officials in order to inform policy debates and educate the public and opinion leaders nationwide.