Homeless Census

Beginning January 2007, our region coordinates a bi-annual U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) mandated homeless census which focuses on counting the number of homeless (sheltered and unsheltered) in southern Nevada. As a result, more than $15 million has been allocated to southern Nevada for homeless service from HUD for our Homeless Continuum of Care. The census report identifies key issues and demographics which assist with homeless planning and coordination efforts. The following are the results of the 2009 Southern Nevada Census as reported by Applied Survey Research:

Census Components





Street count of unsheltered homeless people - on streets, in vehicles, in makeshift shelters (such as tents), and encampments





Shelter count of homeless people - emergency shelters, transitional housing, and domestic violence shelters





Hidden Homeless Estimate - based on a telephone survey of 1,001 households in Clark County.





Total Count of Homeless in Clark County





  • The 2009 southern Nevada Homeless Census number does not include people in jails, hospitals or rehabilitation facilities.
  • Compared to 2007, southern Nevada has made strides in addressing homelessness even during a poor economy, high unemployment rates, high foreclosures, reduced resources and the constant influx of homeless from other state.
  • Southern Nevada almost doubled the number of those homeless provided shelter resulting in the number of homeless on the street even with an additional 1,921 reported homeless in the area.

For many it may seem that providing persons with shelter is cheaper than providing funds to place them into permanent housing. However, the cost of homelessness is staggering – there are incredible costs not only to the affected individuals and families in terms of decreased health and wellness and ability to meet the most basic needs, but also to the community in terms of real dollars.

According to The National Alliance to End Homelessness, the following are some national statistics regarding the ways in which homelessness can be costly to communities:

  • Average annual overnight jail costs for a homeless person costs taxpayers $14,480.
  • A typical cost of a prison bed in a state or federal prison is $20,000 per year.
  • Emergency room visits cost an average of $3,722.
  • Homeless individuals average two visits per year at $7,444 per homeless person. An average transport by ambulance costs $214.15.
  • The average hospital stay is three days at an average cost of $4,440. Those who only access healthcare through the emergency room do not receive follow-up care or services beyond immediate intervention, making them more likely to return to the hospital in the future.
  • The cost of an emergency shelter bed funded by HUD’s Emergency Shelter Grants program is approximately $8,067 more than the average annual cost of a federal housing subsidy (section 8 housing certificate).

Perhaps the most difficult cost to quantify is the loss of future productivity. Decreased health and more time spent in jails or prisons means that homeless persons have more obstacles to contributing to society through their work and creativity as well as homeless children facing countless barriers to retaining education.

The impact of homeless individuals on hospitals, prisons and social services is high, and because they do not have a stable place to live, homeless persons are at risk for a variety of poor outcomes including health problems, developmental delay for children and incarceration.   Preventing someone from becoming homeless, or providing a quick and efficient transition into stable permanent housing when homelessness cannot be prevented can result in a significant cost savings.

In order to effectively serve the homeless, there are core services that need to be provided such as:

  • Shelter - day shelter for hot days, evening shelter for cold days, emergency shelter.
  • Housing – temporary, transitional, permanent.
  • Services - case management, drug and alcohol treatment, discharge planning, basic needs and mental health services.
  • Housing/services for special homeless populations with unique needs (chronics, families, domestic violence victims, veterans, youth, seniors).
  • A coordinated regional case management system to effectively manage it all.

Contact Information

495 S. Main St.
Las Vegas, NV 89101
Phone: (702) 229-7529 (PLAY)
TTY: (702) 229-2330
Fax: 382-3045

Business Hours: Monday to Thursday 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., CLOSED Friday

Director: Tim Hacker

Related Links