CSBG Data Corner: Homelessness on the Decline and CSBG Helped!

– by Tabitha Beck, Research Director –

The Atlantic and USA Today recently discussed the quiet decline of homelessness since 2005. We took a look at the CSBG data alongside the national homelessness data from the 2012 National Point-in-Time Estimates of Homelessness. The national trend is reflected in the number of homeless served by the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG) Network. The CSBG Network has served at least 68% of the homeless population over the past five years, which includes individuals living on the street or out of their cars, as well as families in emergency shelters and transitional housing.


*Number of homeless people served by the CSBG Network was estimated using homeless families data from the CSBG IS Survey, and multiplying by 2.5, the average number of people per family, which is also based on CSBG IS Survey. 

Other federal efforts such as the Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) help address homelessness as well, and are part of the President’s 10-year plan to end homelessness. But local agencies throughout the CSBG Network know there is still much work to be done to help those still without a stable place to sleep. One example is the El-Ada Community Action Partnership in Idaho.

El-Ada Community Action Partnership’s Veterans Administration Supportive Services for Veterans Families Program provides housing stability, case management, barrier removal and temporary financial assistance to veterans who are experiencing homelessness, and those at high risk of becoming homeless or returning to homelessness.

El-Ada Community Action Partnership’s ongoing participation in the Boise 10-Year Plan to Reduce and Prevent Homelessness, the Continuum of Care, and the annual point-in-time count are entirely funded by Community Service Block Grant. In addition, participation in housing task forces, convening housing consumer groups, and conducting community needs assessments are CSBG-funded activities.

The results of these activities provided the community input that supported expanding services to homeless and at-risk veterans. This community support and clear demonstration of needs ultimately allowed El-Ada Community Action Partnership to move forward with obtaining Veterans Administration Supportive Services for Veterans Families Program funds.

The agency reports, “Without Community Service Block Grant, we could not have attracted these Veterans Administration resources to our agency or our community. It is the stability of our Community Service Block Grant housing stability and self-sufficiency focused services that gave El-Ada Community Action Partnership the credibility to attract new funding.”

How has the homeless population in your area changed? What types of innovative initiatives or programs are helping to reduce homelessness in your state? Let us know!

Sources include the 2012 CSBG IS Survey