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Homeless Numbers in Placer County

2017 Placer County point-in-time homeless count results released

AUBURN, Calif. -- The Homeless Resource Council of the Sierras, the lead agency in the region's Homeless Continuum of Care, has released final results from the 2017 point-in-time homeless count conducted in Placer County.

A total of 663 homeless individuals were counted across the county, from Roseville to North Lake Tahoe. The count surveyed both unsheltered and sheltered individuals and was conducted by volunteers and county staff Jan. 23.

"Overall, when you look at the trends over several years, our homeless population has remained fairly consistent in relation to the population at large," said Leslie Brewer, board president of the Homeless Resource Council of the Sierras as well as Director of Advocacy and Services for Placer Independent Resource Services.

Since 2007, Placer County's total population has grown by more than 50,000 and the homeless population has stayed between 134 and 176 homeless people per 100,000 residents based on census figures.

This is significantly lower than the state average (302 homeless per 100,000 residents as of 2016).Larger urban areas see even higher rates, such as San Francisco (795 homeless per 100,000).

Compared to 2015 when a similar count was conducted, the most notable increase in Placer this year took place in the western portion of the county including Roseville and Lincoln. However, officials caution that the 2015 numbers were abnormally low for western Placer and are likely inaccurate due to survey staffing issues. This year's numbers were consistent with those from earlier years.

According to the 2017count, eastern Placer ― from north Penryn to before Truckee, including Auburn ―witnessed a decline in its homeless population since 2015, from 339 individuals to 299. Meanwhile, North Lake Tahoe saw a slight increase, from 12 to 21.

"What these figures reinforce is that homelessness is a regional challenge, not focused in one area of the county," Brewer said. "As we move forward in meeting this challenge, we are looking at the unique needs of every community."

Point-in-time counts are not a comprehensive measure of an area's homeless population, but rather snapshots from a single day that can be used to approximate broad trends. Typically, they are viewed as undercounts for a community's yearly overall homeless population because many people may move in and out of homelessness throughout the year.

The counts are required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and are used to determine funding. Placer County will likely receive upwards of $1 million through this funding stream this year. Those counted include people in emergency shelters, transitional housing, motels paid for by an agency, on the street, in cars, abandoned buildings and in other places not meant for human habitation. Those living temporarily with family, in permanent supportive housing or in institutions are not included.

According to the 2017count, 16.6 percent of homeless individuals for whom detailed information was collected were considered chronically homeless. 38.6 percent had a serious mental illness, 40.6 had a substance use disorder and 27.1 percent were survivors of domestic violence.

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