Number of Unhoused People Lower in San Francisco, but Growing Across the Bay Area

While the city saw fewer people experiencing homelessness for the first time in years, homelessness across six Bay Area counties grew by 8 percent.

May 18, 2022, 12:00 PM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

A group of socially distanced tents for the homeless are set up on a parking lot in San Francisco's Civic Center.

nerriy / Shutterstock

As we noted in a recent story, the number of people experiencing homelessness in San Francisco is lower for the first time since 2015. But just across the bay in Contra Costa and Alameda counties, the picture is less rosy: Contra Costa County’s population of unhoused residents rose by 35 percent, while Alameda’s jumped by 22 percent. 

Lauren Hepler, Sarah Ravani, and Yoohyun Jung of the San Francisco Chronicle report on the new numbers. “Six of nine Bay Area counties released estimates on Monday: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, Santa Clara and Sonoma. They posted a combined 8% increase in the regional homeless population, up to 34,636 people this year compared with 32,043 three years ago.”

“Housing advocates say the crisis is decades in the making, with California lacking some 2.4 million affordable homes for low-income households after years of neighbors and local politicians blocking new development, plus high building costs.” This despite “the unprecedented measures that public agencies took to get people off the streets during the pandemic: paid hotel rooms, sanctioned tent cities, tiny home villages and all manner of encampment sweeps.”

“To more systematically address the underlying lack of housing, groups including [founder and CEO Tomiquia Moss’s] All Home estimate that the region would need to spend at least $6 billion to slash the Bay Area’s unsheltered homeless population 75% by 2024.” The source article details the funding allocated by the state so far, as well as the various responses undertaken by California cities to address the crisis.

Monday, May 16, 2022 in San Francisco Chronicle

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