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Report: More Richmonders are living without shelter

A busy gas station with a sign large sign with digital prices on it
Connor Scribner
VPM News File
People fill their cars at the Mobil station on South Belvidere Street in Richmond.

Homeward released the data from its Point-in-Time Count conducted July 26-27.

More people in the Richmond region experienced homelessness this summer than last year, according to regional service providers. On Thursday Homeward, which coordinates homelessness services across Central Virginia, released data from its Point-in-Time Count conducted between July 26 and 27.

That night, staff and volunteers with the Greater Richmond Continuum of Care counted 486 people experiencing homelessness, which is 8.7% higher than the organization's summer 2022 count of 447. The organization also noted a higher number of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness — staying outdoors, in cars and/or other places not meant for habitation — versus last year's count.

In addition to the city of Richmond, the region includes the town of Ashland and the counties of Charles City, Chesterfield, Goochland, Hanover, Henrico, New Kent and Powhatan.

The definitions of what GRCoC uses to determine homelessness, unsheltered or otherwise, are determined by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The PIT counts are federally mandated. Staff from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs also collected demographic information alongside regional volunteers during the July count.

Kelly King Horne, executive director of Homeward, said that unsheltered homelessness tally was still significantly higher than the Greater Richmond region’s historic average before COVID-19. As VPM News previously reported, winter point-in-time counts identified 85 unsheltered people in January 2022 and 188 unsheltered people in January 2023.

Homeward said that people older than 55 made up 40% of those experiencing homelessness in this count. One-quarter of the people surveyed said that the reason they were experiencing homelessness was because of a breakdown in close relationships. Evictions and employment came in second.