Homelessness Continues to Significantly Increase in California According to January 2020 Homeless Counts

 

—Count results are pre-pandemic—

—HUD likely to release official count results by end of year—

In 2020, 22 of the 44 California Continuums of Care (CoCs) conducted an unsheltered and sheltered homeless count in January and publicly reported and/or shared their results with Urban Initiatives to be included in this report. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) does not require CoCs to complete an unsheltered count in even-number years.

The other 22 CoCs conducted a sheltered count. HUD will combine their 2020 sheltered counts with their 2019 unsheltered counts and report their totals as their 2020 sheltered and unsheltered homeless count.

HUD will likely post the 44 California CoC homeless counts, along with all the counts conducted in January by every CoC throughout the country, at CoC Homeless Populations and Subpopulations Reports by the end of the year.

Of the 22 California CoCs that conducted an unsheltered and sheltered homeless count, 17 or more than three-fourths (77.3%) counted more persons as homeless in 2020 when compared to the number of persons counted in 2019 and are shaded red in the map below. Five or 22.7% of the 22 CoCs, counted less persons as homeless in 2020 when compared to 2019 and are shaded blue in the map below.

The aforementioned 22 CoCs counted 93,098 persons as unsheltered and sheltered in 2019 and 103,014 in 2020, which represents an increase of nearly 10,000 persons (9,916) or 10.7%.

A table follows the map below that compares the total number of persons
counted as homeless by the 22 CoCs that conducted an unsheltered count in 2019
and 2020 and notes the 22 CoCs that did not conduct an unsheltered count in 2020

Map of California Continuums of Care showing which saw an increase in unsheltered persons counted as homeless and which saw decreases between 2019 and 2020

 

Table 1 compares the total number of persons counted as homeless by the 22 CoCs that conducted an unsheltered count in 2019 and 2020 and notes the 22 CoCs that did not conduct an unsheltered count in 2020.

Table 1

Comparison of Persons Counted as Homeless by CoC in 2020 to 2019

  Continuum of Care (CoC) 2019 2020 Difference
# %
CA-500 San Jose/Santa Clara City & County CoC Did not complete an unsheltered count in 2020
CA-501 San Francisco CoC Did not complete an unsheltered count in 2020
CA-502 Oakland, Berkeley/Alameda County CoC Did not complete an unsheltered count in 2020
CA-503 Sacramento City & County CoC Did not complete an unsheltered count in 2020
CA-504 Santa Rosa, Petaluma/Sonoma County CoC 2,951 2,745 -206 -7.0
CA-505 Richmond/Contra Costa County CoC 2,295 2,277 -18 -0.8
CA-506 Salinas/Monterey, San Benito Counties CoC Did not complete an unsheltered count in 2020
CA-507 Marin County CoC Did not complete an unsheltered count in 2020
CA-508 Watsonville/Santa Cruz City & County CoC Did not complete an unsheltered count in 2020
CA-509 Mendocino County CoC 785 751 -34 -4.3
CA-510 Turlock, Modesto/Stanislaus County CoC 1,923 2,107 +184 +9.6
CA-511 Stockton/San Joaquin County CoC Did not complete an unsheltered count in 2020
CA-512 Daly City/San Mateo County CoC Did not complete an unsheltered count in 2020
CA-513 Visalia/Kings, Tulare Counties CoC 1,064 1,297 +233 +21.9
CA-514 Fresno City & County/Madera County CoC 2,508 3,641 +1,133 +45.2
CA-515 Roseville, Rocklin/Placer, Nevada Counties Did not complete an unsheltered count in 2020
CA-516 Redding/Shasta County CoC 1,349 1,529 +180 +13.3
CA-517 Napa City & County CoC 322 464 +142 +44.1
CA-518 Vallejo/Solano County CoC Did not complete an unsheltered count in 2020
CA-519 Chico, Paradise/Butte County CoC Did not complete an unsheltered count in 2020
CA-520 Merced City & County CoC 608 636 +28 +4.6
CA-521 Davis, Woodland/Yolo County CoC Did not complete an unsheltered count in 2020
CA-522 Humboldt County CoC Did not complete an unsheltered count in 2020
CA-523 Colusa, Glen, Trinity Counties CoC Did not complete an unsheltered count in 2020
CA-524 Yuba City/Sutter County CoC Did not complete an unsheltered count in 2020
CA-525 El Dorado County CoC Did not complete an unsheltered count in 2020
CA-526 Tuolumne, Amador, Calaveras, Mariposa Counties CoC Did not complete an unsheltered count in 2020
CA-527 Tehama County CoC Did not complete an unsheltered count in 2020
CA-529 Lake County CoC 408 572 +164 +40.2
CA-530 Alpine, Inyo, Mono Counties CoC 214 184 -30 -14.0
CA-600 Los Angeles City and County 56,257 63,706 +7,449 +13.2
CA-601 San Diego City and County CoC 8,102 7,619 -483 -6.0
CA-602 Santa Ana, Anaheim/Orange County CoC Did not complete an unsheltered count in 2020
CA-603 Santa Maria/Santa Barbara County CoC 1,803 1,897 +94 +5.2
CA-604 Bakersfield/Kern County CoC 1,330 1,580 +250 +18.8
CA-606 Long Beach CoC 1,894 2,034 +140 +7.4
CA-607 Pasadena CoC 542 527 -15 -2.8
CA-608 Riverside City & County CoC 2,811 2,884 +73 +2.6
CA-609 San Bernardino City & County CoC 2,607 3,125 +518 +19.9
CA-611 Oxnard, San Buenaventura/ Ventura County CoC

1,669

1,743 +74

+4.4

CA-612 Glendale CoC 243 169 -74 -30.0
CA-613 Imperial County CoC 1,413 1,527 +114 +8.1
CA-614 San Luis Obispo County CoC Did not complete an unsheltered count in 2020
  Total: 93,098 103,014 +9,916 +10.7

 

2021 Homeless Count

An unsheltered count in January 2021 would help determine the impact of the pandemic on homelessness in California. Homelessness likely increased in California since January, particularly due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. A homelessness pandemic may be looming because of a surge in evictions. Presently, an estimated 30–40 million people in the United States could be at risk of eviction in the next several months.

HUD, however, has not yet announced whether CoCs will be required to conduct an unsheltered count or not because of safety concerns related to COVID-19. An announcement is expected soon.  A sheltered count will be required.

If required, HUD has indicated that an unsheltered count would only include a “head-count” instead of collecting additional information from adults experiencing homelessness as in the past such as gender, age, race, ethnicity, and other subpopulation data such as veteran status and chronic homelessness.

More persons will likely be counted as homeless in 2021 when compared to the number of persons counted as homeless in 2020, especially if extra effort is put into locating and counting persons living in vehicles. Often, persons live out of their vehicles when they first become homeless and unable to live with friends and families and initially refuse to live in shelters.

Persons living in vehicles such as cars, vans, trucks, and recreational vehicles (RV) in disrepair or with limited or no access to water, electricity and sewer connections have been required by HUD to be included in unsheltered counts. Pre-identifying known locations where vehicles are parked at night to ensure persons living in the vehicles are counted is key to determining the impact of the pandemic on unsheltered homelessness in California.

1 Comment

  1. Gregorio Barboza on October 27, 2020 at 8:37 am

    Specially Fresno-Madera:
    Would like to see count per Zip codes and compare to Census 2020 and further would like to have HUD request count per Zip codes. Think we may see opportunities if report includes this in future counts. My experience with count has been that it is mapped out per zip codes and teams are sent out but not reported as such to HUD.

    Truly,

    gregorio barboza
    Bishop’s Advocacy Committee on Homelessness, Fresno Dioese.

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