County Sees Increase In Homelessness, New Data Reveals

The 2024 Bucks County Point in Time Count revealed a rise in individuals without stable housing compared to the previous year.

A homeless camp in Bristol Township. Credit: Tom Sofield/

The latest Point in Time (PIT) Count has revealed a sharp increase in homelessness across Bucks County, with numbers rising 27 percent from 2023, according to data released last week.

The annual survey was conducted on the night of January 23 and identified 407 residents without stable housing, according to numbers put out by the Bucks County Department of Housing and Community Development.

This year’s count found 234 individuals in emergency shelters, transitional housing, or hotels funded by charities, an increase from last year’s numbers. Additionally, 82 people were housed in seasonal Code Blue shelters, and 91 adults were found sleeping outdoors or in places not meant for human habitation.

Amid the overall rise, the survey marked the eighth consecutive year without any children reported sleeping outdoors, county officials said.

The 2024 PIT Count, which is mandated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), also highlighted a concerning 67 percent surge in chronic homelessness.

Local Code Blue shelters, which are mostly operated by faith-based organizations, reported more than double the attendance from last year.

The survey found that 69 percent of the homeless population was in Lower Bucks County, 17 percent in Central Bucks County, and 14 percent in Upper Bucks County. Lower Bucks County is the most populated portion of the area.

Contributing to the trends, the county witnessed a 42 percent increase in homelessness among seniors aged 55 and older, while homelessness among unaccompanied youth aged 18 to 24 saw a 35 percent decline.

Officials noted the rise in homelessness came around the same time pandemic-era federal assistance programs ended. Among them was the Bucks Emergency Rental Assistance Program (BERA), which concluded in April after helping over 6,000 households in maintaining their housing.

The increase in homelessness comes at a time when the national data is similarly grim, with federal officials reporting rises fueled by escalating rents and the expiration of much of the COVID-19 pandemic aid.

The full report of the Bucks County 2024 PIT Count is available for public review on the Housing Link website.

The data from the Bucks County Department of Housing and Community Development serves as a tool for assessing and addressing the needs of the homeless population in the area.

The methodology of the PIT Count has faced scrutiny. The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty has previously criticized the national count for its alleged methodological flaws and a definition of homelessness that some consider too restrictive.

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