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Slight Decrease in Number ofHomeless in Santa Clara County

Unemployment Continued to be Cited As Main Cause of Homelessness

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – According to a report released this week by the County of Santa Clara, on any given day 7,045 persons are homeless in our county. This is a decrease from the 7,086 homeless persons counted in 2009. However, as the economy continues to struggle it is likely that there will be an increase in the estimated number of residents who will become homeless at some point during 2011, even if only for a short period of time.

Additionally, Santa Clara County saw an increase in long time homeless: the number of persons with many or long episodes of homelessness increased from 2,270 in 2009 to 2,520 this year.

The 2011 countywide homeless census and survey was conducted by the County of Santa Clara in collaboration with the 15 cities in the county. Every two years the County of Santa Clara and its public and private partners conduct a homeless census and survey. The census and survey are conducted to better understand the situation of the county’s homeless residents and develop more informed strategies to end homelessness. One of these strategies is the Housing 1000 Campaign which seeks to identify the most vulnerable homeless individuals and help them secure the permanent supportive housing needed to end their homelessness.

As the largest city in the county, San Jose has 57.3% of the county’s homeless population. The cities of Gilroy, Santa Clara, and Sunnyvale have the second (7.0%), third (5.3%), and fourth (5.6%) highest numbers of homeless residents respectively.

During the nights of the census, 1,876 of the county’s homeless persons were in a shelter or transitional housing situation. The most frequent reasons cited by those surveyed for not being sheltered was bed limitations at shelters (55%), alcohol/drug problems (18%), an inability to follow shelter rules (13%), and the absence of identification (8%). Among the 5,169 persons who were unsheltered, approximately 40% live on the street. The remaining persons live in cars, vans, RVs, motels, or buildings and facilities not meant for human habitation.

To get a better understanding of the characteristics of the county’s homeless residents, 1,014 homeless residents were interviewed between January 27, 2011 and March 26, 2011.

According to the survey results, the most frequent reason cited for persons becoming homeless was unemployment (27%) compared with 30% in 2009. Approximately 11% of those surveyed were currently employed – 9% were employed full time, and 2% were employed part time. Thirty-nine percent (39%) of those surveyed cited not have a permanent address as a barrier to getting employment, while 36% cited the need for employment training.

The report estimates that on any given night, Santa Clara County has a homeless veteran population of 667 persons, or 10% of the total nightly homeless count. This is a significant decrease from the 866 homeless veterans estimate in 2009.

Finally, the report indicates that on any given night, 874 persons in families are homeless in the County. This is a decrease of 14% since 2009. A full copy of the 2011 Santa Clara County Homeless Census and Survey can be found on the County’s website at www.sccgov.org under “Hot Items.”

Media Contact: Robert Dolci, Jessica Scheiner, Homeless Concerns Coordinators Housing Department, Santa Clara County Mental Health Department, City of San Jose (408) 299-5119 and (408) 975-4417
Posted: July 26, 2011