Mayor's Office Press Release

2017 Point-In-Time Homeless Count & Survey Begins Tonight

January 23, 2017 -- Over the next three-days, more than 300 volunteers, including staff from the Coalition for the Homeless, The Way Home partner agencies and the City, as well as community leaders and volunteers (including the formerly homeless) will fan out across the city to count and survey Houston’s homeless population.  Every January, cities across the nation conduct this federally-required "homeless count."  The Houston region goes a step further by surveying individuals and assessing all who are veterans, chronically homeless, families and/or youth for housing.  The data gathered is critical to Houston's efforts to respond to and reduce homelessness.  At Mayor Sylvester’s direction, all individuals encountered, regardless if they are homeless or not, will be offered immediate shelter and employment assistance.

“This will tell us how many people are homeless in Houston, where they are located, who they are and their individual needs,” said Mayor Turner.  “Houston has made significant progress in reducing its homeless population in recent years.  I want to see us go even further.  We have to do everything we can to assist those who are willing to take the help.  It is a matter of public safety, public health, and it’s just the right thing to do.”

The homeless count and survey is organized by the Coalition for the Homeless and partially funded by The City of Houston’s Housing & Community Development Department.  The count and survey will be conducted in two phases.  The first phase begins this evening and involves a count of those in shelters.  The unsheltered count will take place January 24, 25 & 26. During this phase, specialized outreach teams will conduct brief, conversational surveys with individuals who sleep on the streets. Houston is the only city in the nation that counts over three days to ensure as accurate a count as possible.  The background and needs of every homeless person encountered is documented and on-the-spot assessments for permanent housing with supportive services are offered to those who are interested.

“In 2016, our enhanced methodology revealed that there were 3,626 homeless individuals in the Houston area on a given night,” said Marilyn Brown, President/CEO of the Coalition. “That is a 21% reduction in just one year, from 2015, and a more than 57% reduction since The Way Home began its collaborative work. In 2017, we are closer than ever to ending chronic homelessness. The data we collect from this Count will help us cross the finish line. We are also excited to gather robust data from Montgomery County to gain a better understanding of homelessness in that area.”

Data from the count and survey will play an important role in the implementation of the City’s comprehensive plan for addressing the homeless and non-homeless street population that will be announced in February.  Furthermore, the Houston Solid Waste Department continues to perform coordinated cleanups of the following areas:

  • 59 @ Jensen
  • Central Business District
  • East End of Downtown (Congress)
  • Loop 610 and So Main Corridor
  • 45 and Sims Bayou
  • 45 and Crosstimbers
  • 45 and Broadway/Airport

All personal items are left alone; only trash is hauled away.  Assistance is offered in case any of the homeless desire to seek shelter, but no one is forced to leave.  Photos of the last cleanup are available at 59 Cleanup.