Mar 5, 2024 - News

Richmond region records highest number of unsheltered people since 2015

Illustration of the dotted outline of a house key, but no house key.

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

The number of people in the Richmond area who were sleeping outside or in places unfit for living in January is the highest it's been since 2015.

The big picture: The total number of people experiencing homelessness is 681, per the federally mandated head count from the Greater Richmond Continuum of Care (GRCoC).

  • That's 1.3% lower than last year's January snapshot but remains higher than pre-pandemic figures.
  • It's also higher than July's point-in-time count of 486 people without permanent housing.
  • Of the 681, 206 were unsheltered — a 9.6% increase from last January.

Zoom in: More than half of the respondents listed housing costs, unemployment or eviction as the main reason for their homelessness.

  • The median length a person in the region is without permanent housing is 298 days, or nearly 10 months.
  • And the demographics are leaning older (40%) and majority Black (62%).

Between the lines: The survey is voluntary, but even if someone doesn't agree to take it, they're still counted in the census.

  • The localities included are Richmond, Chesterfield, Henrico, Hanover, New Kent, Goochland, Powhatan and Charles City.

The bottom line: "It's the rents, non-renewal of leases, and then the rents go up, wages not keeping up with the cost of living … and then just the lack of inventory," says Kelly King Horne, executive director of Homeward, which coordinates the region's homeless services.

  • "That's the biggest pressure within our community and across the country."

Editor's note: This story was corrected to note that people who don't participate in the voluntary census are still counted.


Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Richmond.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Richmond stories

No stories could be found


Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Richmond.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more