June 22, 2022
The Utah Office of Homeless Services Releases Annual Data Report
SALT LAKE CITY (June 22, 2022) — Today, the Utah Office of Homeless Services released the state’s Annual Report on Homelessness at the Utah Homelessness Council meeting. The annual data report includes several data types from different sources, including the Federal Fiscal Year 2021 (FFY21) System Performance Measures; 2022 Housing Inventory Count; and the 2022 Point-in-Time (PIT) count. When reviewed in conjunction, these data sources provide a more well-rounded picture of homelessness in Utah.
“Though there have been some considerable successes in specific areas, there is still much to do. We look forward to working with all stakeholders statewide over the next year to make significant advancements. Coordination is a key principle of success. The Office of Homeless Services is committed to working and collaborating with all stakeholders,” said Wayne Niederhauser, State of Utah Homeless Coordinator.
“Individuals and families are experiencing housing instability at higher rates, which often leads to homelessness and increases the need for crisis response services,” said Tricia Davis, Office of Homeless Services Assistant Director. “The homeless response systems throughout Utah have experienced significant shifts in the delivery of homeless services due to the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a rapidly rising cost of living.”
The report tracks the statewide goals and benchmarks established in “The State of Utah Strategic Plan on Homelessness” to measure progress towards making homelessness in Utah rare, brief and non-recurring.
Making Homelessness Rare
7,712 Utahns experienced homelessness for the first time in Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2021, nearly one thousand more individuals than in FFY 2020. This 14% increase marks the first time this measure has increased in the last five years and aligns with national trends. This follows four years of decreases, with a reduction from FY 2017 to FY 2020 of 29%.
Making Homelessness Brief
In FFY 2021, the length of stay in the shelter was approximately 68 days, representing a less than one day increase from FFY20. About 53% of those in shelters stay for a short amount of time - 30 days or less. Only 6% stay for 9 months or longer.
Making Homelessness Non-Recurring
The system is highly effective in keeping the most vulnerable in housing. In FFY 2021, 95% of individuals enrolled in permanent housing projects, other than rapid re-housing, either exited to or retained their permanent housing. The state has seen a steady improvement in this measure since FFY17.
The number of people who return to homelessness after leaving to permanent housing remains low at 29%.
Pandemic Point-In-Time Count
The 2022 PIT count reported 3,556 Utahns experiencing homelessness on a single night. The number of unsheltered people reported during the 2021 PIT was 3,565.
The full report is available at: https://jobs.utah.gov/
About The Utah Office of Homeless Services: The Utah Office of Homeless Services strives to work together with communities to make homelessness in Utah rare, brief and non-recurring by providing statewide support of project services, interventions and system performance measures and reporting.
About The Utah Homeless Council: The Utah Homeless Council ensures that services provided to individuals experiencing homelessness are utilized in a cost-effective manner and works to facilitate a better understanding of homelessness. The council is also responsible for providing final approval for the homeless services budget, strategic plan and award of funding for the provision of homeless services.
About the Point-in-Time Count: The Point-in-Time count is a physical count of all homeless persons who are living in emergency shelters, transitional housing and on the streets on a single night, mandated by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). For 2022, the count was carried out on January 26. Many factors influence the results of any given PIT, including weather, organized volunteer efforts, and CoC planning. Within that context, the PIT is a valuable tool in calculating a community’s need for homeless services on any given night. It is also the primary tool available for measuring the number of individuals experiencing homeless who are not enrolled in homeless service projects in UHMIS. After implementing new methodologies in 2021 to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19, Utah’s CoCs were able to return to using detailed surveys for conducting their unsheltered counts in 2022. These changes make it difficult to draw firm conclusions from comparisons of the 2021 unsheltered count to those conducted in other years.