U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Press Release

HUD Reports Homelessness in Wisconsin Declines in 2016

Nationwide estimate shows continued reduction in number of persons in shelter and on streets

MADISON –  Homelessness continues to decline in the U.S, specifically among families with children, Veterans, and individuals with long-term disabling conditions according to the latest national estimate by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  Meanwhile, HUD’s 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress found the number of persons experiencing homelessness in Wisconsin on a single night in 2016 fell by 10.2% since 2010, the year the Obama Administration launched Opening Doors, the nation’s first comprehensive strategy to prevent and end homelessness.

Since 2010, HUD estimates that Wisconsin experienced a 15 percent reduction among homeless families, a 32 percent drop in Veteran homelessness, and a 62 percent decline in individuals experiencing chronic homelessness. This national estimate is based upon data reported by approximately 3,000 cities and counties across the nation. Every year on a single night in January, planning agencies called ‘Continuums of Care” and tens of thousands of volunteers seek to identify the number of individuals and families living in emergency shelters, transitional housing programs and in unsheltered settings.

In making the announcement, HUD Secretary Julián Castro noted that though the nation is making significant progress in reducing homelessness, the number of ‘doubled up’ or rent-burdened families remains a vexing problem.

“Every person deserves a safe, stable place to call home,” said Secretary Castro. “The Obama Administration has made unprecedented progress toward ending homelessness and today marks the seventh straight year of measureable progress. While we know that our work is far from finished, it’s clear we’re on the right track to prevent and end homelessness for good.”

During one night in late January of 2016, tens of thousands of volunteers across the nation sought to identify individuals and families living on their streets as well as in emergency shelters and transitional housing programs.  These one-night ‘snapshot’ counts, as well as full-year counts and data from other sources (U.S. Housing Survey, Department of Education), are crucial in understanding the scope of homelessness and measuring progress toward reducing it.

On a single night in January 2016, state and local planning agencies in Wisconsin reported:

  • 5,685 people experienced homelessness, representing a 10.2 percent reduction from January 2010. Most homeless persons (5,275) were located in emergency shelters or transitional housing programs while 410 persons were unsheltered.
  • The number of families with children experiencing homelessness declined by 15 percent (or nearly 500) since 2010.
  • Veteran homelessness dropped by 32% percent (or nearly 200 persons) since January 2010. On a single night in January 2016, 415 veterans were experiencing homelessness.
  • Chronic or long-term homelessness among individuals declined by 62 percent (or over 450 persons) since 2010.
  • The number of unaccompanied homeless youth and children appeared to decline in 2016 to 337 though HUD will launch a more robust effort to more accurately account for this important population in January of 2017.

The Obama Administration’s strategic plan to end homelessness is called Opening Doors – a roadmap for joint action by the 19 federal member agencies of the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness along with local and state partners in the public and private sectors. The Plan offers strategies to connect mainstream housing, health, education, and human service programs as part of a coordinate plan to prevent and end homelessness.

While homelessness nationally continues to decline, some communities are reporting less progress.  Read more information on state/local-level homelessness.

HUD’s mission is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. More information about HUD and its programs is available on the Internet at www.hud.gov and espanol.hud.gov.

You can also connect with HUD on social media and follow Secretary Castro on Twitter and Facebook or sign up for news alerts on HUD’s Email List.

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