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2018 Point in Time Survey Shows Decrease in Number of County Residents Experiencing Homelessness

For Immediate Release: Thursday, May 10, 2018


The overall number of persons experiencing homelessness in Montgomery County decreased by 6%, as reported in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s (COG) 2018 point in time survey, released yesterday.  Conducted annually in jurisdictions throughout the region, the survey was conducted on January 24. On the night of the count, there were 840 persons who were homeless in Montgomery County, as compared with 894 persons counted in 2017.  Since 2015, there has been a 24% decrease in the overall number of homeless individuals. 

"I am pleased that our efforts to enhance services to the homeless and to move individuals and families into permanent housing are having success,” said County Executive Isiah Leggett.  “We have worked hard through our commitment to the Inside Not Outside effort to house every chronically homeless individual and to reallocate resources towards permanent housing.  Our work is not over but I applaud the efforts of our County programs and non-profit partners who work every day of the year to reduce homelessness in our community.” 


The number of persons experiencing chronic homelessness decreased by 22% during the count.  The continued decline in homelessness can be attributed to the reallocation and investment of funding towards permanent housing and the Inside Not Outside campaign to end chronic homelessness.  Providers have removed barriers to housing, enhanced outreach and created a list to identify, track and follow those identified as chronically homeless or “at risk of chronic homelessness.”  As of May 7, 362 chronically homeless individuals have been placed in permanent housing.  Officials expect to reach functional zero in the coming weeks. 

There was a 37% decrease in those reporting substance abuse.  There were 66 adults reporting chronic substance use in 2018 compared with 104 reporting that in 2017.  Households without children experienced an 8% decrease in 2018 from 616 in 2017 to 568 in 2018.  There were 85 families with children in 2018, compared with 109 in 2016.    

Though Montgomery County achieved the goal of ending veteran homelessness in December 2015, sustaining functional zero requires continual monitoring and tracking.  During the 2018 count, 18 homeless veterans were counted, including four newly identified homeless veterans.  This is an increase of 27% percent from 14 in 2017.  As of May 7, nine veterans are currently experiencing homelessness in Montgomery County.  Housing resources have been identified for all nine.  

Montgomery County has pursued nationally-recognized best practices to reduce the prevalence of homelessness. In 2015, we utilized a combination of federal housing vouchers and county support to find housing for every identified homeless veteran,” said County Councilmember George Leventhal, chair of the health and human services committee.   

In 2018, we are optimistic that we will be able to find housing for every identified chronically homeless individual in the county. These Point in Time count results indicate that our efforts are making progress. The next subpopulations on which we must focus are homeless youth and families."  

We have approached this issue with a laser-like focus using best practices in both homeless street outreach and housing programs, and committed additional resources so that homelessness is rare, brief, and one time for all our residents,” said Amanda Harris, chief, Services to End and Prevent Homelessness.  

The County’s Homeless Continuum of Care (CoC) is a public-private partnership that includes state and local government agencies, non-profit 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 homeless individuals, 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 homeless individuals with housing, employment, disability entitlements and other behavioral health 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.  

For a complete report, go to www.mwcog.org/homelessnessreport .    

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Release ID: 18-551
Media Contact: Mary Anderson 240-777-6534