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Asheville’s annual count of its homeless population indicates a slight decrease
Tuesday, 01 June 2021 16:43

From Staff Reports 

The City of Asheville’s 2021 Point-in-Time count “identified 527 people experiencing homelessness in our community, which is a slight decrease from the 2020 count of 547,” a city press release revealed on May 18.

The city’s 2021 Point-in-Time count was conducted on Jan. 27 and the results have been submitted to the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

“Overall, the data are consistent with the past several years, indicating little change in the scale of homelessness,” the release noted. “The significant change this year is in the pattern of homelessness; the 2021 data reflect a dramatic decrease in the number of people in shelters and transitional housing, and a corresponding increase in the number of people who are unsheltered.  

“That change highlights the impact of COVID-19 on the homeless population and our community’s service system.  

“Adhering to COVID protocols, such as creating distance between beds, dedicating rooms as quarantine space for incoming clients and requiring negative COVID tests for entry, has resulted in decreased bed capacity throughout our community,” the release stated.

Emily Ball, homeless services system performance lead with the city, was quoted in the release as saying, “Not having an increase in homelessness during such a difficult year is a great testament to the work of service providers in our community. I’m hopeful that with federal resources available for rental assistance, we’ll be able to keep additional people from becoming homeless and move currently homeless people into housing, decreasing this number even further.”


The city press release added, “Most data came directly from the Homeless Management Information System, a database that local service agencies enter  point-in-time data into; also some information was collected via paper surveys conducted by agencies, as well as paper surveys from a street count conducted by volunteers.”

Below is a chart showing the count in 2020 and 2021 of the homeless population in Asheville:


City Homeless Population    2020           2021                           

Sheltered                                 482             411      

Unsheltered                               65            116       

Total                                          547            527



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