Ready by 21 Dashboard

Outcome: Physically Healthy and Safe

Children Experiencing Homelessness, as identified in the annual Point-in-Time Count

Progress: In the 2015 Point-in-Time Count of people experiencing homelessness, 552 children and youth under 24 were identified, representing 29% of the total population of people experiencing homelessness

Significance of this indicator: Being homeless endangers the physical health, social and emotional well-being, academic performance, and the very life of children. The consequences to society are enormous. According to the National Alliance to End Homelessness "Homeless youth and young adults are at pronounced risk for physical abuse, sexual exploitation, mental health disabilities, chemical or alcohol dependency, and death."

what the data tell us

Each January, volunteers fan out across Travis County to count the number of people experiencing homelessness on a particular night, including people residing in emergency shelters and transitional housing, as well as those ‘living in a place not designed or ordinarily used as a regular sleeping accommodation for humans,” according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. During the 2015 ‘Point-in-Time’ Count, there were 412 children under 18 and 140 youth between ages 18 and 24 identified as experiencing homelessness. Nearly all of the children under 18 and 62% of youth 18-24 counted that night were ‘sheltered’ or staying in an emergency shelter or transitional housing, although 55 children and youth were unsheltered. Overall, children and youth made up 29% of the population experiencing homelessness during the Point-in-Time count, including 8% of the unsheltered population and 41% of the sheltered population.

Click this graph to download an excel spreadsheet with expanded information
Click this graph to download an excel spreadsheet with expanded information Click this graph to download an excel spreadsheet with expanded information

Definition: Age breakdown of people who were identified and counted as homeless in the Austin/Travis County Annual Point-in-Time Count, by sheltered status

Data Source: Ending Community Homelessness Coalition

Data Considerations: Annual point-in-time counts reflect only the number of people who are identified by volunteers as being homeless on a given day each year. In 2010, postponement of the annual point-in-time count due to weather issues lowered the number of participating volunteers and may have affected the number of homeless persons who were identified and counted. Count numbers beginning in 2011 include people identified through the following programs that had not previously reported numbers for the point-in-time count: Grant/Per Diem Transitional Housing Program, Healthcare for Homeless Veterans (HCHV) Residential Treatment at McCabe Center, and a HCHV Residential Treatment program called A New Entry. Due to low temperatures, Cold Weather Shelters were open during the 2014 Point-in-Time Count, somewhat artificially raising the number of sheltered individuals

The story behind the indicator

Over the last five years, the total number of people experiencing homelessness in the Austin-Travis County area has declined. Since 2011, the number of people identified as experiencing homelessness has declined 22%, to 1,877 in 2015. From 2014 to 2015 alone, the number of individuals counted declined by about 6%. The number of people experiencing homelessness is determined through the annual Point-in-Time Count. Each year, as mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, volunteers fan out across the county to identify people experiencing homelessness.

During the 2015 Point-in-Time Count, 667 total people were considered ‘unsheltered’ or sleeping in an area not fit for human habitation. This represents about 36% of people considered homeless. The remaining 64% of people experiencing homelessness had a temporary place to stay, such as an emergency shelter, on the night local volunteers conducted the count. The PIT may not paint a full picture of the number of people in our community at risk for homelessness. In calendar year 2014, ECHO reported that 12,999 people received services at partner organizations, including permanent supportive housing and homelessness prevention services.

For more information on the overall population experiencing homelessness, see the Community Advancement Network’s Dashboard indicator on homelessness.

Some local efforts to improve this indicator

Collaborative Initiatives

Plans, Data, and Reports

a closer look at the story behind the indicator

During the 2013-2014 school year, Austin ISD’s Project Help program identified 2,500 students within the district who were experiencing homelessness. This was a 24% increase over the number of homeless students who were identified during the 2012-2013 school year. The number of students identified as homeless has increased over the last several school years.

Click this graph to download an excel spreadsheet with expanded information

Definition: The number of students in the Austin Independent School District who were identified and counted as homeless by Project Help

Data Source: Project Help

Data Considerations: While Project Help works to serve homeless students within Austin ISD, identifying students who are experiencing homelessness is not so simple. If a student is not homeless at the time of enrollment and becomes homeless at some point during the school year, there is a chance that they would not be identified by the school district as being homeless.