Homelessness in Ohio Seven Times More Common than Previously Reported

Homelessness Report

Today, OHFA published the first report based on information collected through the Ohio Human Services Data Warehouse (OHSDW). The report provides information on the number of individuals who accessed homelessness services between 2012 and 2016 in 86 of Ohio's 88 counties. Initial findings show 163,075 individuals accessed homelessness services over. In 2016 alone, 58,484 people were served. This is nearly seven times greater than comparable figures, like the Point in Time count, which we have previously relied on to document trends for those experiencing homelessness.

As a result of the Data Warehouse, for the first time, it is possible to report detailed demographic and service use information about individuals experiencing homelessness in Ohio. Some key findings from the report include the following:

  • More than 30 percent of people receiving CoC services were children, including over 6,000 infants who were less than one year old.
  • Twenty-two percent of adult clients reported being a survivor of domestic violence, including 38 percent of women and eight percent of men.
  • More than seven percent of all CoC service recipients were veterans, including more than 4,000 people in 2016 alone.
  • A majority (51 percent) of all clients were white, and 56 percent were male.
  • Half of those entering CoC services were "literally homeless," meaning they were sleeping somewhere not designed for permanent living.
  • Over 3,500 individuals, including 210 people in households with children, exited the program to a place not fit for habitation.

OHSDW provides an important, new source of data that can augment the data available prior to this warehouse. Previously, the best data available came from Point-In-Time (PIT) counts, conducted by CoCs under federal direction. PIT counts are conducted on a single night and determine how many people are living in temporary housing or on the street. The most recent count in January of 2017 found only 8,614 people experiencing homelessness in these areas. This new report shows that those figures represent a small fraction of individuals experiencing severe housing insecurity.

OHSDW is a collaboration between OHFA, Ohio Mental Health and Addiction Services (OMHAS), the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA) and Ohio's nine Continuum of Care organizations (CoCs). CoCs are regional planning organizations that coordinate housing and services funding for those experiencing homelessness. Data were available from seven of the state's nine CoCs.

By knowing more about who experiences homelessness, Ohio can begin to address what types of services are needed and how to ensure more people have access to safe, quality and affordable housing. View the full report. For updates on this research, subscribe to OHFA's Office of Housing Policy email newsletter.