The Results Are In! 19.3% Decrease in Homelessness in the Roanoke Region

Posted on March 13, 2017 by Amanda Holcomb

On January 25, 2017, volunteers and homeless service providers took to the streets and shelters to conduct the Roanoke Region’s 2017 Point-in-Time Count. The Point-in-Time (PIT) count is a count of sheltered and unsheltered persons on a single night during the last ten days of January. The count provides a snapshot of who is homeless. Why the Point-in-Time? 1) Its required. In order to qualify for federal homeless assistance funds, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requires communities to conduct one.  2) The information collected is useful. The information is valuable to area service providers, policy makers, and you – the public, on the individual and family challenges and barriers associated with homelessness.


The numbers have been crunched and the results are in…

We are pleased to announce the results indicate progress and a decrease in homelessness in our region for the FIFTH consecutive year!

The number of homeless individuals has decreased 52% since January 2012, with the count decreasing 19.3% in January 2017. This year’s decrease is the largest single year reduction since 2013.

With five years of decreasing numbers in the PIT Count under our belt, it’s safe to say we’re on a downward trend in the number of people experiencing homelessness…but we can’t take all of the credit! These numbers are a testament to the hard work and dedication of the community’s service providers, system planners and decision-makers. It’s been a collaborative effort. In 2012, the Blue Ridge Continuum of Care began to transform the way services are provided in the community. An increased focus has been placed on service coordination among providers; hard work has been done to expand permanent housing solutions; data is being used through new, enhanced technology to monitor progress and outcomes in more sophisticated ways; resources are now being more strategically targeted on the community level. We’ve moved away from a program-centric structure to a system-minded, coordinated effort. As cliche’ as it sometimes can sound, collaboration really is the key to success!


Yet with all this progress, there is still work to do! 267 of our neighbors remain without a home. This year there was an increase in the number of individuals staying in unsheltered locations (17 individuals counted in 2017, seven were counted in 2016). Three of those counted were youth (age 18-24). This year, temperatures were unseasonably warm on the night of the count, so no warming shelter was open. This could certainly be a contributing factor to the increase in the number of unsheltered individuals. There is more than enough beds at emergency shelters to meed the needs of individuals in crisis in our community.

As the results make clear, the system changes have paid tremendous dividends. Continued and expanded investment in permanent housing solutions and best practice service models are key to accelerated future success as we continue our focus on reducing homelessness among the priority populations, and for all of our neighbors. We will not stop until everyone in our community has a safe, stable place to call home. Ready for zero? Let’s get to it!



Check out the full report below:

2017 Point-in-Time Report

2017 Point-in-Time Report









In the news: 

Count of Roanoke Valley homeless declines for fifth year, The Roanoke Times, March 10, 2017

Homelessness down in the Roanoke region for fifth year in a row, WDBJ7, March 10, 2017