Sacramento Steps Forward, the non-profit agency that coordinates homeless resources in the region, on Wednesday released its 2019 Point-in-Time Count, a census that measures the number of people experiencing homelessness in Sacramento County on any given night.
As you might expect, the news was not great — homelessness has increased in Sacramento County since the last count in 2017 — but there were some strong glimmers of hope as well as evidence that what the City and County are doing to address the issue is having an impact.
Here are five key takeaways from the 2019 PIT Count:
- The number of homeless people in Sacramento County is increasing, but the growth rate is slower than it was in previous years. Sacramento County saw a 19% increase in homelessness since 2017, which is consistent with other California communities. The PIT Count found that 5,570 people experience homelessness on any given night.
- The number of people experiencing chronic homelessness has declined in Sacramento County. The PIT Count showed the percentage of people experiencing chronic homelessness in Sacramento County has decreased by 7% among the unsheltered population. The City of Sacramento, through its low-barrier rehousing shelter on Railroad Drive, has been focused on this very population for the past two years.
- The majority of people experiencing homeless in Sacramento County are from the area. According to the count, 93% of people interviewed said they were originally from Sacramento or are long-term residents. This statistic contradicts the notion that people are coming to Sacramento specifically for services.
- A significant chunk of people experiencing homelessness are families with children. The PIT Count puts that number at 20% of the overall homeless figure, signaling that the City and County need to remain focused on helping this population.
- Rising homelessness reflects the continued challenges with affordable housing in California. Lack of affordable housing was the number one issue mentioned by the unsheltered population. It’s worth noting that Sacramento last year had the highest rent increases in the state.
“The numbers in the 2019 PIT Count reaffirm our mission and sharpen our resolve,” said Emily Halcon, homeless service coordinator for the City of Sacramento. “They remind us of how urgent this problem is and how we need to act quickly to create more shelter capacity with intensive re-housing services. That is best way to help people stabilize their lives and eventually move into more permanent housing.”
The City of Sacramento recently allocated $17 million to overall sheltering activities and rehousing options for women and families with children.
The City has partnered with the Sacramento Housing and Redevelopment Agency to open a new shelter in downtown Sacramento this summer. The City also is working to develop rehousing shelters on Ethan Way near Cal Expo and on Alhambra near Broadway.
The County and City together housed 3,600 people in 2018.
For more information about what the City is doing to solve homelessness, please visit homeless.cityofsacramento.org