Preliminary results from the 2022 Point-in-Time (PIT) homelessness count performed earlier this year showed a marked increase in people experiencing homelessness in Bucks County.
Conducted the evening of Jan. 25, the count found 427 people sleeping in emergency shelters, residing in transitional housing or living outdoors. The figure is a 48% increase from last year’s count, and is the county’s first recorded increase in homelessness in six years.
Officials attribute the rise in part to the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as to the string of heavy storms last summer that displaced dozens of county residents from damaged homes and apartments.
“This year’s Point-in-Time results need to be considered thoughtfully – the increase is partly related to the effects of natural disasters,” said Diane Ellis-Marseglia, vice chair of the Bucks County Board of Commissioners. “While the county and our partners were able find temporary housing this past year for most displaced residents, this increase points to a need for new affordable and attainable housing options throughout Bucks County.”
The County of Bucks, Bucks County Housing Link and their partners continue to work to ensure residents’ experiences of homelessness are brief, rare and non-recurring. Ongoing initiatives include:
- The Bonus for Bucks Landlords Incentive Program, which is recruiting new landlords to join the Housing Link’s fight against housing insecurity using cash incentives
- The Bucks County Emergency Rental Assistance (BERA) Program, which since March 2021 has prevented evictions by providing more than 3,260 Bucks County renters and 824 landlords with rental and utility assistance
- Expansion of rapid rehousing programs using federal funding and grants to help people experiencing homelessness, including victims of domestic violence
Housing Link coordinates the federally mandated PIT count each year during the last week of January. During the count, Housing Link Street Outreach teams, staff and volunteers canvas the county to survey homeless residents. Findings are reported to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
This year’s count identified 388 residents sleeping in emergency shelters, transitional housing or hotels paid for by charitable organizations; 61 people in seasonal Code Blue shelters and 28 adults sleeping outdoors or in other places not meant for human habitation.
Though 124 of the residents counted Jan. 25 were under 18, for the sixth straight year no children were sleeping outside.
Of the 122 people in hotels, half were there because of flooding or housing condemnation.
The number of homeless veterans decreased to nine in 2022, down from 23 last year.
The count was split nearly evenly between males and females, each making up about 50% of those counted. People identifying with another gender accounted for less than 1%.
Chronically homeless households experiencing long-term or repeated episodes of homelessness accounted for 38 of the people counted.
To see additional breakdowns of 2022 PIT data, visit the Bucks County Housing Link website.
If you are a landlord interested in learning more about ways to partner with Bucks County Housing Link, visit buckshousinglink.org/landlords.
Media Contact: James O’Malley, 215-348-6414, [email protected]