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Leaders call for more housing as county homelessness rises 22%

'Homes solve homelessness -- so let's keep investing in housing solutions'

Alameda County's 2022 Point in Time count numbers have been released, and some cities like Oakland are seeing a jump in homelessness, the biennial data released Monday shows.

A point in time (PIT) count is done on a single day, capturing what the homeless population looks like at a moment in time. The project gets funding from the Federal Housing and Urban Development grants.

According to the numbers, homelessness in Alameda County is up 22% since 2019.

Though the numbers are discouraging to advocates for the homeless, some say the PIT count is still better than what could have been, according to EveryOne Home, a nonprofit that conducted the PIT in February and works to end homelessness.

Alameda County had been experiencing increases in homelessness of 20% per year before the pandemic, homelessness experts said.

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The data released Monday shows an estimated 9,750 homeless people in the county. About 7,100 are unsheltered and about 2,600 are sheltered. More than half of the homeless people in Alameda County are in Oakland. That estimate is 5,055, up about 1,000 from 2019.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf calls homelessness a "moral outrage" and in a statement she chose to reflect somewhat on her city's progress.

"Oakland made clear progress in reducing outdoor street homelessness and doubling our shelter capacity since the last PIT count," she said on Monday.

The number of homeless people who are sheltered in Oakland rose from 861 to 1,718 between 2019 and 2022.

But, Schaff added, "We know more investments are needed."

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Oakland has recently established cabin communities for homeless people and tiny homes, but the data show more needs to be done.

Countywide, the increase in homelessness is due to two things, according to EveryOne Home.

One is a 39% rise in the number of people living in vehicles such as cars and recreational vehicles. Nearly 4,000 people were estimated to be living in vehicles in February. About 2,300 hundred were in cars or vans and about 1,600 were in RVs.

A 53% jump in the number of people enrolled in shelter programs also contributed to the increase in the county's homeless population.

Shelter programs to protect homeless people from COVID-19 blossomed in California following the start of the pandemic. Other accommodations also contributed to the rise in shelter, while traditional congregate shelters operated at a reduced capacity to protect homeless people from the coronavirus.

Moe Wright, chair of the leadership board of EveryOne Home said the number of homeless people in the county "reflects the effects of the pandemic."

"A lot of measures and one-time funding came in from the Federal and State governments that focused on keeping people housed," he said, "but still both sheltered and unsheltered populations have increased."

A state-run program called Project Roomkey alleviated some homelessness. Project Roomkey provided shelter in motels for homeless people at risk of contracting COVID-19.

Another state-run homeless housing program was Project Homekey, which provided money to city's like Oakland to buy properties to house homeless people on a temporary or permanent basis.

Wright said the county has a plan to reduce homelessness and it is "time to provide resources for" it.

He called for a long-term "investment in housing" for the county's "very low-income citizens."

In a statement, Gloria Bruce, executive director of East Bay Housing Organizations, which advocates for affordable housing, said, the Point in Time count "will help us address homelessness."

She echoed Wright's call for more housing.

"Homes solve homelessness -- so let's keep investing in housing solutions," she said.

Taking bold action and working together can provide homes for people like it did in the pandemic, she said.

She lauded Project Homekey and Alameda County's Measure A1, which provided homes for nearly 1,000 homeless people.

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Leaders call for more housing as county homelessness rises 22%

'Homes solve homelessness -- so let's keep investing in housing solutions'

by Keith Burbank / Bay City News Service

Uploaded: Sun, May 22, 2022, 4:15 pm

Alameda County's 2022 Point in Time count numbers have been released, and some cities like Oakland are seeing a jump in homelessness, the biennial data released Monday shows.

A point in time (PIT) count is done on a single day, capturing what the homeless population looks like at a moment in time. The project gets funding from the Federal Housing and Urban Development grants.

According to the numbers, homelessness in Alameda County is up 22% since 2019.

Though the numbers are discouraging to advocates for the homeless, some say the PIT count is still better than what could have been, according to EveryOne Home, a nonprofit that conducted the PIT in February and works to end homelessness.

Alameda County had been experiencing increases in homelessness of 20% per year before the pandemic, homelessness experts said.

The data released Monday shows an estimated 9,750 homeless people in the county. About 7,100 are unsheltered and about 2,600 are sheltered. More than half of the homeless people in Alameda County are in Oakland. That estimate is 5,055, up about 1,000 from 2019.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf calls homelessness a "moral outrage" and in a statement she chose to reflect somewhat on her city's progress.

"Oakland made clear progress in reducing outdoor street homelessness and doubling our shelter capacity since the last PIT count," she said on Monday.

The number of homeless people who are sheltered in Oakland rose from 861 to 1,718 between 2019 and 2022.

But, Schaff added, "We know more investments are needed."

Oakland has recently established cabin communities for homeless people and tiny homes, but the data show more needs to be done.

Countywide, the increase in homelessness is due to two things, according to EveryOne Home.

One is a 39% rise in the number of people living in vehicles such as cars and recreational vehicles. Nearly 4,000 people were estimated to be living in vehicles in February. About 2,300 hundred were in cars or vans and about 1,600 were in RVs.

A 53% jump in the number of people enrolled in shelter programs also contributed to the increase in the county's homeless population.

Shelter programs to protect homeless people from COVID-19 blossomed in California following the start of the pandemic. Other accommodations also contributed to the rise in shelter, while traditional congregate shelters operated at a reduced capacity to protect homeless people from the coronavirus.

Moe Wright, chair of the leadership board of EveryOne Home said the number of homeless people in the county "reflects the effects of the pandemic."

"A lot of measures and one-time funding came in from the Federal and State governments that focused on keeping people housed," he said, "but still both sheltered and unsheltered populations have increased."

A state-run program called Project Roomkey alleviated some homelessness. Project Roomkey provided shelter in motels for homeless people at risk of contracting COVID-19.

Another state-run homeless housing program was Project Homekey, which provided money to city's like Oakland to buy properties to house homeless people on a temporary or permanent basis.

Wright said the county has a plan to reduce homelessness and it is "time to provide resources for" it.

He called for a long-term "investment in housing" for the county's "very low-income citizens."

In a statement, Gloria Bruce, executive director of East Bay Housing Organizations, which advocates for affordable housing, said, the Point in Time count "will help us address homelessness."

She echoed Wright's call for more housing.

"Homes solve homelessness -- so let's keep investing in housing solutions," she said.

Taking bold action and working together can provide homes for people like it did in the pandemic, she said.

She lauded Project Homekey and Alameda County's Measure A1, which provided homes for nearly 1,000 homeless people.

Comments

Michael Austin
Registered user
Pleasanton Meadows
on May 22, 2022 at 4:47 pm
Michael Austin , Pleasanton Meadows
Registered user
on May 22, 2022 at 4:47 pm

Libby Schaaf and her "moral outrage" comment is turn her back political lip service to her problem. She tried to move the homeless from Oakland to Pleasanton and the Alameda County Fairgrounds. Nate Miley and former Pleasanton city manager Nelson Fialho quickly shut the door on that action by Libby Schaaf.


Swagu
Registered user
Bridle Creek
on May 23, 2022 at 12:52 am
Swagu, Bridle Creek
Registered user
on May 23, 2022 at 12:52 am

Stop letting investment banks, corporations, and internationals buying up all the homes. They purchase homes in cash above asking, pricing out working americans. This isn't Monopoly, this is real life.

Houses are being treated like assets to profit off of, instead of places to live. Until corporations and internationals are banned from buying homes this issue will persist.


Hotslide
Registered user
Oak Tree Acres
on May 23, 2022 at 10:24 am
Hotslide, Oak Tree Acres
Registered user
on May 23, 2022 at 10:24 am

Surprised to see that homelessness was increasing at a 20% clip BEFORE the pandemic in the county. That is a huge number and it will take some robust actions to catch up with getting the current number and the annual increase housed. There are certainly some underlying, undiscussed elements for this kind of increase. Fully open borders is probably one of those elements along with the monied class fleeing the state.


Robin
Registered user
Sycamore Heights
on May 23, 2022 at 3:11 pm
Robin , Sycamore Heights
Registered user
on May 23, 2022 at 3:11 pm

Homelessness is out of control, the age demographics of the homeless tends to be young to middle age and most do not want to work, I have offered them work and they refused the work, they chose to ask for money or get help from government services. As long as this society support handouts and money to homeless they will continue to use others for support instead of taking responsibility, getting a job and trying to change their situation. Today there are many jobs available, I am 65 years old, I have to work two jobs I know another 74 year old working ... what ever happened to making people accountable .. what a concept.


Swagu
Registered user
Bridle Creek
on May 23, 2022 at 5:01 pm
Swagu, Bridle Creek
Registered user
on May 23, 2022 at 5:01 pm

It's a complex issue. Not every homeless person is the same.
We can break it down hypothetically like this into four quarters: Mentally ill, lazy, drug addicts, and very poor.

There are a certain % of homeless that are lazy and don't want to work. Then again the Mercury News came out and said 80% of Americans can't afford to buy a home. Rents are thousands of dollars per month (nevermind the cost of gas, cars, etc). At what point are people (especially poor & working class simple priced out?).

Boomers got to buy homes at 200k that are worth million(s) now. If getting a basic job is enough not even to get a place to live, what's happening in society?

We're at the point where even a standard teacher or plumber can barely afford to stay afloat. My neighbor's son (early 30s) is a hardworking college grad and been saving up for 5-10 years. He can't afford even a basic house in the east bay right now as an upper-middle class citizen.

It's very frustrating and discouraging for all the young upstart Americans unable to afford a house and getting smashed with high rents. Meanwhile the ultra-rich doubled their net worth since 2020.
The homeless crisis will only get WORSE until we address mental ill crisis and unaffordable housing.


Jake Waters
Registered user
Birdland
on May 24, 2022 at 9:02 am
Jake Waters, Birdland
Registered user
on May 24, 2022 at 9:02 am

Here we go again with the same talking points year in and year out. Mental illness, home prices, and rent costs are responsible for our homeless population. I agree that home prices are out of the universe as are rent costs, but those are not THE primary causation of homelessness. A history of drug use is. Mental illness is a derivative of long term drug use, of which a breakdown of the nuclear family is usually the stimulus to that end. Bad policies, a weak society, and a lack of leadership continues this problem. Legalizing marijuana is responsible for a huge part of this. ‘No Jake, it’s a medicinal drug and helps those 9 years and above deal with with societal anxiety.’ BS! Sure, a very tiny category of the homeless are created through a struggle with losing their job, high rents, or a catastrophe that occurred in their life resulting eventually to living on the streets. They make movies about that category. But for the most part it’s a broken process starting with a broken family. A failed boarder policy due to a deranged political outcome is adding to the catastrophe by allowing more of the same into the country as well as the endless flow of fentanyl into our communities. But hey, let’s build millions of tiny houses and that will turn them all into respected citizens, besides making us feel better.

Tough times require tough decisions from strong leadership and a society that supports those decisions. White Liberals do nothing more than encourage and further these problems. We are living in a period of extreme weakness, bad political ideology, and a loss of our way. It’s time to wake up.


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