COALITION OF HOMELESS SERVICES PROVIDERS RELEASE 2017 MONTEREY COUNTY HOMELESS CENSUS REPORT

Results Show Increase in Monterey County

 

Monterey County, California (June 23, 2017):  The Coalition of Homeless Services Providers conducted the biannual Point-in-Time Homeless Count on January 25, 2017 and the results have now been released.  By regulation, the 2017 count utilized the definition used by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which includes persons living in shelters and places not meant for human habitation, but excludes persons who are living doubled up with others due to economic hardship.  The number of individuals counted in the general street and shelter count was 2,837.  This represents an increase of 23% from 2015 and the largest number recorded in the past 10 years.

 

HUD determined that 2017 will serve as a baseline for data related to unaccompanied and homeless youth and encouraged communities to conduct intensive point-in-time activities to locate and count this especially vulnerable population.  Monterey County responded to the initiative and conducted the most extensive youth count in its history. The 23% increase in the overall count can be partially attributed to enhanced youth related strategies which resulted in increased youth counts.

 

Approximately 74% of all individuals counted were unsheltered, an increase from 71% in 2015.  Of the unsheltered, 10% live in encampments, 32% live in vehicles, 25% live on the street and 7% live in abandoned buildings.  Of the sheltered, 15% were participating in a transitional housing program and 11% were in emergency shelters.  A significant majority (83%) claim Monterey County as their residence prior to becoming homeless.  Health is a major issue for the County’s homeless with 61% reporting one or more health conditions. 68% reported they cannot afford rent in Monterey County and 55% reported a lack of employment or income.

 

Additional report highlights reveal:

  • Amongst all the cities in the county of Monterey, the largest increase in homelessness was reported in Salinas, Marina and Del Rey Oaks since 2015.
  • There were 598 individuals experiencing homelessness under the age of 25 in Monterey County, 25% of whom were under the age of 18. The number of unaccompanied children and transition-age youth represent an increase of 121% from 2015.  Caution is recommended when interpreting this result, due to the improved scale of effort in 2017.
  • There were a total of 605 individuals experiencing chronically homelessness in 2017, nearly identical to 2015.
  • There were 110 veterans identified in the Homeless Census, a decrease of 22% since 2015 and slightly less than half from 2013. This reduction can be attributed to a national commitment to provide substantial and strategic investments through the Supportive Services for Veterans Families (SSVF) rapid re-housing and homelessness prevention funding and the HUD-VA Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program.
  • There were 160 families with 550 family members, an increase of 37% from 2015. Two thirds of families experiencing homelessness were living in shelters.

 

After examining potential drivers of the upward trend, it appears the increase is caused by growing rents pushing people living at the margins into homelessness.  Challenges associated with high rents are exacerbated by very low vacancy rates, which makes it difficult for people to find a unit even when they have sufficient income or rental assistance to pay market rents.  Coalition of Homeless Services Providers Executive Officer Katherine Thoeni states, “The long-term solution to ending the cycle of homeless in our community is a concerted multi-jurisdictional strategy to significantly increase the stock of affordable and safe housing for extremely low-income individuals and families while addressing the multi-faceted challenges of homelessness at the service level.” She went on to say, “Social Security or disability income doesn’t begin to pay for a small apartment in our community.  A person has to work more than two full-time minimum wage jobs just to live here.  We can, and should, do better.”

 

To read the 2017 Homeless Census, find out about the Coalition of Homeless Services Providers, sign an on-line petition supporting affordable housing or learn about accepting rental subsidy programs, go to www.chspmontereycounty.org

 

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