Annual count shows slight increase in Contra Costa County homelessness

0
660
Annual count shows slight increase in Contra Costa County homelessness
Photo via Pexels

An annual Point in Time (PIT) count of people experiencing homelessness in Contra Costa County conducted on Jan. 25 showed an overall 4 percent increase in the population this year over 2020, including a 5 percent increase among the unsheltered population and a 2 percent increase among the sheltered population, according to County officials.

On Jan. 25, the Contra Costa Health’s Health, Housing and Homeless Services team (H3) and its community partners, including over 200 volunteers, canvassed across the county to count the number of people living in emergency shelters or outdoors. According to preliminary findings released this week, 2,372 people were without housing during that 24-hour period on Jan. 25, including 1,653 people who were unsheltered. That is a 4 percent increase from the 2020 PIT, which counted 2,277 people experiencing homelessness.

Of those surveyed on Jan. 25, 49 percent suffer from a serious mental health condition, 51 percent suffer from a substance abuse disorder, 5 percent are veterans and 67 percent are chronically homeless, according to the County. 

On Jan. 25, the County had a total of 2,779 interim and permanent beds. At the time of the count, the County’s emergency shelter was at 90 percent capacity, permanent supportive housing was at 86 percent capacity,  transitional housing was at 61 percent capacity and rapid rehousing was at 100 percent capacity, according to the PIT data. View more data from the Jan. 25 count in the charts at the bottom of this story.

Christy Saxton, director of H3, said this year’s PIT count “shows that homelessness rates in the county are relatively stable and similar to pre-pandemic numbers.”

“This is a testament to the services we work to provide to people who are experiencing homelessness in our communities, but there is more work to be done,” Saxton said.

The County said it has increased bed capacity by over 560 beds since 2020, thanks in part to the state’s Homekey program. John Gioia, chair of the County Board of Supervisors, said the County is working on “many fronts” to create more housing with supportive services, “including investing $12 million per year in a newly established Housing Trust Fund.”

“Contra Costa County is also working with other counties statewide to reform the homeless system of care in California to link funding with accountability for outcomes,” Gioia added.

The annual PIT count is important because it provides a snapshot in time of homelessness in the community, identifies needs based on geography, reveals data on identity changes in populations and resources over time, and helps local officials advocate for additional local, state and federal resources.

The full PIT report, expected to be completed in June, will include additional geographic and demographic data. Visit //cchealth.org/h3 for more information on homeless services and resources.