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2021 Point in Time Survey Shows 52 Percent Decrease in Family Homelessness and 14 Percent Decrease in Number of Residents Experiencing Homelessness

For Immediate Release: Monday, May 10, 2021

The number of families with children experiencing homelessness decreased by 52 percent between 2020 and 2021, according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) Point-in-Time survey.  The data is part of an annual regional analysis and report that started in 2001. The overall number of persons experiencing homelessness in Montgomery County decreased by 14 percent.

Since 2017, there has been a 35 percent decrease in the overall number of homeless individuals and a 65 percent decrease in homeless families.   

The survey was conducted on January 27, 2021. On the night of the count, there were 577 persons who were homeless in Montgomery County, as compared with 670 persons counted in 2020. 

“In spite of the pandemic, we have worked hard as a community to continue our commitment to rapidly exiting people from homelessness,” said County Executive Marc Elrich. “We have maximized federal resources to connect people experiencing homelessness to permanent housing, placing twice as many households in 2020 as were housed in 2019. Our ‘At Home Together’ initiative to end and prevent homelessness for families with children has paid off. The partnership between our County programs and nonprofit partners who work every day of the year to end homelessness is a statement of the values we hold as a community.”

The number of single individuals experiencing homelessness on the night of the Point-in-Time count was only a modest decrease of 1.4 percent from 2019 and despite placing more than 250 individuals in permanent housing in 2020, the number of people in emergency shelter remains constant. In response to COVID-19, Montgomery County altered its shelter strategy in 2020 by keeping all winter overflow shelters open year-round, resulting in a decrease of 34 percent in the 2021 count of unsheltered individuals. Although there was not a significant decrease in the number of single adults experiencing homelessness between 2020 and 2021, the overall number of individuals experiencing homelessness has declined by 22 percent in the last five years. resulting in more than 70 percent of families seeking emergency shelter to be diverted from homelessness and reducing the overall number of families experiencing homelessness by 65 percent over the last five years.   

"As COVID-19 cases among those experiencing homelessness skyrocketed nationally, here in Montgomery County, our providers put themselves on the frontlines to ensure the health and safety of our most vulnerable residents," said County Councilmember and Lead for Homelessness and Vulnerable Communities Evan Glass. "Housing is a basic human right -- and while we have made significant strides in Montgomery County, we can and should always strive to do better to ensure that homelessness is brief, rare and nonrecurring."

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 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.

During 2021, the County will focus on ending homelessness for youth and preventing families experiencing housing instability from eviction and homelessness.  

The COG 2021 Point in Time survey report is available on the COG website.  For more information on County services, visit

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Release ID: 21-331
Media Contact: Mary Anderson , 240-777-6507