It is decreasing, but there is still a long way to go.


On the night of January 25, 2017 there were 964 people who were literally homeless in the Fairfax-Falls Church community. This represents a 9% reduction from the number counted in January 2016, or 95 less people. The overall reduction continues to demonstrate the success of the strategies implemented the past 9 years. These results are reflected in the chart below.  The total decrease in the homeless population from 2008 to 2017 is 47%, which represents 871 less people homeless on one night in January 2017 then there were on one night in January 2008.  During that time period there was a decline in numbers throughout the homeless system, including in families, children in families, adults in families, single adults, people experiencing chronic homelessness, and families experiencing domestic violence.

There were 964 people who were literally homeless in the Fairfax-Falls Church community. 474 were people in families, 490 of them were single adult individuals.  

  • The number of people who were literally homeless declined by 9 percent (95 people) from the number counted in January 2016.
  • Persons in families decreased by 18 percent (103 people) compared to 2016. The number of families decreased by 20 percent (36 families).
  • Single adults increased by two percent (8 people) compared to 2016.
  • People in families accounted for 49 percent of all homeless persons counted, consisting of 143 families with 474 people.
  • The primary reduction from 2016 to 2017 was in families in transitional housing. There were 114 families in 2016 and 56 in 2017,    representing a change of 177 individuals.

There was an increase in families in emergency shelter; there were 64 families in 2016 and 86 in 2017, representing a change of 73 individuals.  Capacity was added to Artemis Shelter last year, there were five families in the overflow motel, and all family shelters were serving more people on the night of the PIT count.

  • There was one unsheltered family on the night of the PIT count.

  • 60 percent of the families (86) counted were residing in emergency shelter while 39 percent of the families (56) were in transitional housing programs.

  • 30 percent of all persons (286) who were homeless were children under the age of 18, a small decrease (2 percent) from last year.

  • 80 percent (150) of the adults in homeless families were female.

  • 57 percent of adults (107) in homeless families were employed; a decrease from 66 percent in 2016.
    Photo credit:  Volunteer Fairfax
  • For families whose homelessness was due to domestic violence, the number of families (60) in 2017 decreased 31 percent (27) from the number of families in 2016 (87).

  • 17 percent (24) of families were considered "youth households", as all the family members were under the age of 25 years old. This was an increase from 12 percent (21) last year.

  • There were four families with a veteran head of household.

  • Single adult individuals accounted for 51 percent of all homeless persons counted, a total of 490 people.

  • 44 percent (216) of single adults who were homeless suffered from serious mental illness and/or substance abuse, a slight increase from last year.

  • 31 percent (150 people) were experiencing chronic homelessness. This is a slight increase from last year.  This number remained similar despite the significant increase in Permanent Supportive Housing specifically for this population.

  • There were 105 unsheltered individuals.  There were 31 more unsheltered than during the 2016 count. Unsheltered individuals comprised 21 percent of total single adults.  A contributing factor for this increase, as well as the increase in those experiencing chronic homelessness, is our continuing improvement to the methodology for enumerating people sleeping in places not meant for human habitation.  Included in this was better coordination with the Lamb Center, as well as their utilizing HMIS for the first time this past year.  In addition, the increase in the number of unsheltered can be attributed to the unseasonably warm weather on the night of the PIT count.

  • 74 percent of single individuals (361) were male, 26 percent of females (128 people), there was one person who doesn't identify as male, female, or transgendered.

  • 23 percent of single adults (114) were employed; lower than the 28 percent in 2016.

  • 6 percent of single adults (30) were reported as veterans;  a slight decrease from 2016. 

  • 3 singles were under the age of 18; they resided at the Alternative House youth shelter on the night of the PIT count.

  • 32 percent of the single adults (155) were over 55 years of age; an increase from 29 percent (139) in 2016.

  • 9 percent (46) of the single adults were transition-aged youth, defined by HUD as between the ages of 18-24 years old. This remained similar to the 2016 numbers of 9 percent (43).

 Homelessness in Fairfax County, VA

Contributing Factors: 

  • Continued implementation of a Housing First approach;
  • Increased homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing efforts; 
  • Prioritizing housing for individuals with the longest history of homelessness and highest vulnerability;   
  • Continued development of a unified approach across the homeless services system;
  • County-wide contracts with updated and specific goals have contributed to notable systemic changes that have made the continued decline possible;
  • Additional permanent supportive housing for singles experiencing chronic homelessness was created through new and reallocated HUD Continuum of Care program funding, as well as Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (VASH) vouchers;
  • New permanent housing opportunities for families with children were also made available, including Housing Choice Vouchers, and VASH vouchers;
  • More system-wide coordination and change, as well as increased housing options, will ensure continued progress towards the goal of making homelessness rare, brief and non-reoccuring in our community.

The Point-in-Time count was conducted on January 25, 2017 in coordination with the entire Metro DC region as well as the Commonwealth of Virginia. The annual count is conducted consistent with the guidelines from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, and covers people who are literally homeless – those who are in shelters, in time-limited transitional housing programs, or unsheltered and living on the street. Conducting the enumeration requires extensive efforts by a wide range of community partners, involving dozens of staff and volunteers from public and private nonprofit organizations that work with people who are homeless in the Fairfax-Falls Church community.





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