of persons who have not been served by the community’s homeless system in the
two years prior to entry into the homeless system
This measure represents the number of persons who are experiencing homelessness for the first time in a fiscal year (October 1 - September 30) in the Austin/Travis County Continuum of Care (CoC). This is assessed based on whether a person has received services in the past two years from any homeless services program in Austin/Travis County that inputs data into the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) database.
Continuums of Care (CoCs) representing the 48 most populous cities in the United States, including the Austin/Travis County CoC, are assigned to the “Major City” CoC category by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This is done to better understand how homelessness differs by geography and levels of urbanization and population.
Among Major City Continuums of Care:
- The average number of individuals experiencing homelessness for the first time in 2020 was 6,154; the median was 3,867
- The average number of individuals experiencing homelessness for the first time in 2019 was 6,403; the median was 4,169
- The average number of individuals experiencing homelessness for the first time in 2018 was 6,540; the median was 4,090
- The average number of individuals experiencing homelessness for the first time in 2017 was 6,376; the median was 4,198
- The average number of individuals experiencing homelessness for the first time in 2016 was 6,767; the median was 4,382
Based on this, the Austin/Travis County CoC is performing better than the national standard (average and median) for this measure.
*Medians provided to show the high level of skewness of this data (i.e. cities that have extremely high numbers of clients represented in this measure that drag the average towards a higher number).
**Average numbers for 2021 data are not yet available.
As you can see here the number of people experiencing homelessness for the first time has risen since its lowest in FY2017. 2020 was the first year there was a decrease in this trend since 2016. The Austin/Travis County CoC is performing better than the national average and median (based on similar communities) for this measure.
Note: to see the underlying data for this chart, please select the "View Source Data" link to the left.
Additional Measure Insights
The chart below displays the number of individuals experiencing homelessness for the first time broken out by race. It is important to examine the characteristics of clients being served by the homeless services system with a lens to racial equity. This helps our community recognize disparities that exist and work to eliminate them, ensuring that individuals experiencing homelessness in Austin can access and receive services without prejudice. As of April 2022, average numbers for 2021 are not yet available.
To this end, the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) is leading a work group to evaluate equity within Austin's homeless services system, particularly with regards to race, and they have set the following objectives:
- This work group will collaborate with the City of Austin Equity Office to critically analyze system tools, policies, hiring practices, housing interventions/ strategies, etc.
- This group has a desire to switch the responsibility of culturally congruent services from the client to the service provider(s)/ homeless system.
- This work group will work with the CoC [Continuum of Care] to ensure that all agencies/ programs working within the CoC adhere to best practices that decrease racial disparities.
In 2021, the Austin/Travis County Continuum of Care, led by the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO), implemented a number of equity-focused changes to to address racial disparities in the Homelessness Response System, including:
the governance structure of the Continuum of Care (CoC). The newly created
Homelessness Response System Leadership Council, the managing board of the
CoC, has codified policies to maximize diverse representation of
homelessness system stakeholders and individuals with lived expertise.
Specifically, the governance charter requires one-third of its
members to be composed of people who identify as non-white and / or
Hispanic, and reserves three seats for individuals with lived expertise of
Leadership Council decided and sourced funding to compensation people with
lived expertise in homelessness that serve not only on Leadership Council,
but its committees and workgroups.
CoC created and adopted the Austin Prioritization Index, a new equity-centered
prioritization tool that is used to connect people experiencing
homelessness with housing programs. The goal is to eliminate race, gender,
and sexual-orientation disparities in how people access housing programs
Measure Details and Definition
1) Definition: This measure represents the number of persons who are experiencing homelessness for the first time in a fiscal year (October 1 - September 30) in the Austin/Travis County Continuum of Care (CoC).
2) Calculation method:
-Step 1: Using HMIS data, add the number of persons in the client universe (all persons in Emergency Shelter (ES), Safe Haven (SH), Transitional Housing (TH) and any Permanent Housing (PH) project type who entered during the current reporting period)
-Step 2: Using HMIS data, calculate the number of persons who were also recorded in ES, SH, TH, and all PH projects in HMIS 24 months prior to their entry during the reporting year (i.e., those who were homeless)
-Step 3: Subtract the total from Step 2 from the total from Step 1 to calculate the number of persons experiencing homelessness for the first time
3) Data Collection Process: This data is collected homeless services organizations who provide shelter to individuals experiencing homelessness. The data is aggregated by the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) and reported to the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on an annual basis.
4) Measure Target Calculation: The target for this measure (3,500) is based on historical trends and improving capacity in the Austin/Travis County homeless services system. There is not yet aggregate national data published on HUD's website to create a new measure target calculation for FY2021.
5) Frequency Measure is Reported: Annually (Fiscal Year)
Date page was last updated: April 2022