Merced County Times Newspaper
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Homeless Watch

20 percent increase in Central California

Editor’s note: The following information was culled from the 2019 Point-in-Time Homeless Count Results in Central California, and local Continuum of Care reports

Recent reports made available by Central California Continuums of Care (CoCs) provide an estimate of the number of persons counted by all the Central California CoCs earlier this year.

There were approximately 12,500 or 20 percent more persons than those counted in 2017.

HUD requires CoCs to conduct unsheltered counts every other year or odd-number years, which is the reason for comparing the 2019 count results to 2017 instead of 2018. Only half (48.8 percent) or 21 of the 43 California CoCs conducted an unsheltered count in 2018. All CoCs are required by HUD to conduct a sheltered count every year.

The Central California regional report relied on CoC information from the following 16 counties: Alpine, Amador, Calaveras, Fresno, Inyo, Kings, Madera, Mariposa, Merced, Mono, Monterey, San Benito, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Tulare and Tuolumne.

Among the counties, the largest percentage increase was recorded in San Joaquin with an increase of 1,087 people from the 1,542 counted in 2017, for a total of 2,629 in 2019.

In contrast, Monterey and San Benito counties listed a decrease of 660 people from 3,364 counted in 2017, for a total of 2,704 in 2019.

Merced County was up 154 people from the 454 counted in 2017, for a total of 608 in 2019. That’s a 33.9 percent increase.

In all, seven of the eight CoCs representing the 16 counties counted more persons in 2019 than in 2017.

Next Steps

The governor’s Homeless and Supportive Housing Advisory Task Force — co-chaired by Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas — will hold three regional convenings in the months ahead, including one in September in the Central Valley.

Working groups of other regional leaders, service providers, formerly homeless people and academics are expected to work in collaboration with the Task Force advisers.

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